Keep Your New Schedule Flexible for the New Yoga Class




After an exhausting day at school, relaxation creates a calming and stabilizing environment to help ease the mind. Many San Jose students say that to de-stress, their top choices are Netflix, Hulu, reading, or even sleeping.

How many have ever tried yoga, let alone had 60 minutes during the school day to practice their poses?

Next semester at the San Jose Upper School Campus, a new yoga class will be available for students, and it fulfills ½ of the required physical education credit.

History teacher and ninth grade advisor Mrs. Gomez has been doing yoga for about five years. Gomez said that she and Spanish teacher Ms. Stam received the 2016 Ottenstroer grant to start a yoga program at the Upper School campus. Last year, with the grant, they started holding optional yoga classes once a month during activities, naming their group “The Downward Dogs”.

Due to limited time during activities, they decided that for students to receive as many benefits as possible, they would need to see them more often. Thus, a new idea for a yoga elective class was born!

The only major complication in creating the new elective class was limited free space on campus and finding a space large enough to practice in, that was not already reserved, was difficult. In an email, Mrs. Gomez said, “Mrs. Marks was able to make it happen!”

Normally, when creating a new elective course, the teacher would be required to submit a few pages of justifications and goals. However, for the yoga elective this was not as necessary due to last year’s yoga program being so successful.

Mrs. Marks, the principal of the Upper School, explained that the usual process of creating a class is that the teacher thinks up the idea of a class that he or she would want to teach, and then talks to his or her department chair. She also mentions that they would look into supplies/materials/cost and do some research on the idea. Then they discuss the location of the class, because with a class like yoga, it isn’t usually done in a traditional classroom setting. Mrs. Marks notes, “[The idea] is presented to the department chair group, which includes in it Mr. Keen, who is the middle school head also. […] If they approve it, then it goes to the academic council for a vote. And then the recommendation is sent to the president of the school for the adoption of that course.” Everybody was in support of the idea of a yoga elective class and it was put into action.


The yoga elective class does not give homework/tests/quizzes, but Mrs. Gomez is considering inserting some writing elements. Via electronic correspondence she said, “In addition to students receiving all the physical benefits from taking the yoga elective, my goal is that they will also discover more about themselves and celebrate that discovery.” She is considering starting out each week with an inspirational or thoughtful quote that students can ponder over.

“It helps release tension, that is the most important part.”

-Gregory Peiris

In Mrs. Gomez’s opinion some very important benefits of yoga are, “something like increase flexibility, you could also have your heart rate go up, you could also reduce your blood pressure […]. As far as mental benefits just taking a timeout to seperate yourself from what is going on in the day. Just to have a quiet time during the day, I think, can be very therapeutic both mentally and emotionally.”

Everyday, Bolles students experience stress through projects, homework, tests, quizzes, etc. and doing yoga will help reduce those stress and anxiety levels.

In 2017, Gregory Peiris (‘21) offered to play live piano for a yoga session of about half an hour, and after going that first time he, “just kind of joined it and did the yoga with them”. He explained that he was never that interested in it before he volunteered to do the live music. However, after he saw the yoga in action firsthand, he decided to try it.

When asked his opinion of the different benefits of yoga he reiterated Mrs. Gomez’s thoughts and views about the benefits of the exercise. He did add that, “It helps release tension, that is the most important part.”

Mrs. Marks says that because of the popularity of the new yoga elective, the class occurring first semester would fill quickly and, “We’re hoping we will be able to offer it more than one time a day, one semester, in the future.”

The yoga sessions held during activities occur in Lynch Theater or outside, depending on the weather. The yoga elective will be held in an exercise room near the pool. Yoga can be done anywhere, but there are some ideal factors in finding the perfect spot.

Mrs. Gomez explained that the best location to do yoga is in a controlled environment. The experience is more soothing if factors including temperature, noise, or even brightness, can be influenced.

“My goal is that they will also discover more about themselves and celebrate that discovery.”

-Mrs. Gomez

The first optional activities yoga class will be held on September 24th; Mrs. Gomez and Mrs. Stam will warmly welcome any newcomers and familiar faces that attend.