English teacher shares love for Yoga with athletes

English teacher shares love for Yoga with athletes

Freshman English teacher Ms. Jian meets in the workout room every Thursday to teach Yoga to the basketball team as part of their off season conditioning. (Maria Sifuentes photo)

Her heart is calmly beating and breaths are exhaled out evenly as a drop of sweat slowly falls down from her face like a tear. Freshmen English teacher, Ms. Alison Jian stays in her Prasarita Padottanasana position with no complaints, unlike the giant basketball players around her that were moaning and resisting the urge to break loose of this painful yoga position.

“You have these big boys that are doing these poses and stretches that are very foreign to their bodies,” Jian said. “It’s enjoyable not only for the sake of what it is doing for them, but it is also fun to see them struggling with these basic poses and really trying get it right.”

After basketball Coach Eric McDade learned about Jian’s desire to teach yoga to the basketball team, he made it a regular routine for for the team every Thursday. McDade said, that when it comes to athletes, yoga is a major aid to three main points: breathing, concentration, and less injuries.

“Yoga can be a major help with athletes’ breathing, concentration and also helps us cut down on injuris,” McDade said. “She is a great teacher and she knew what the boys needed and it is working great for us so far.”

McDade said he wants more in a performance than just improved concentration and is looking to Yoga to assist them with these areas.

“My goal is for my boys to have higher jumps and better flexibility,” McDade said. “These yoga stretches are going to give these boys the ability to be able to stand in their positions firmly and quickly move around the court.”

McDade admits that the team was open to anything that will help them on and off the court.

“They trusted my wisdom and encouragement to take these extra hours after school for Yoga classes.”

Although the players said they didn’t know what to expect after taking these classes, Junior Jerami Grace said he knows it is helping him on an off the court

“I could feel the improvement in my body as the days went on,” Grace said. “I have been sleeping better lately and doing better on concentrating on my school work.”


Senior Alfred Peterson said he thought Yoga was going to be an easy thing to participate in however he has a different opinion after a few Thursday afternoons.

“Boy, was I wrong,” Peterson said. “This is tough training.”

Jian said that pro sports such as the NBA and the NFL have embraced Yoga as part of their training methods as well.

“What they have found is that the players that practice Yoga do not get injured at all or nearly as much,” Jian said

Jian didn’t start yoga just for fun. She said she was a triathlon fanatic who always signed up for strength consuming events as if they were a daily routine.

“It seemed like nothing could stop me from my hobbies,” Jian said. “Until I had my a knee injury.”

After she injured her knee Jian said she went through several sessions of physical therapy that she said were not so satisfying to her. Searching for different ways to get back on track, she soon found a yoga website. She said she did her research and started to use yoga as physical therapy.

“When I hurt my knee I wasn’t in a good state of mind at the time,” Jian said. “I went through so much pain just to do what I love which is being fit. Yoga was a very life changing experience for me. It made a big emotional impact on me to be able to do something I love to do again.”

Jian remembers a time when she wasn’t able to walk up stairs without feeling pain from her knee

“Yoga had saved me, ” she said. “Now I am able to run another triathlon”

Yoga didn’t just fix her physically, Jian felt it fixed her mentally.

“Yoga has helped me look at things in a different way,” Jian said ” Now I want to share my positive-energy boost with everyone.”

Jian said the impact of Yoga on her life is one that she will always remember.

“I am in a very different state of thought than I was three years ago,” Jian said, “and I feel everyone should do yoga.”

Although Jian said she has given some private lessons and now is working the team, she said she wants to expand her clientele. She even talked to new principal Elijah Granger about offering Yoga to the staff and student body.

“He received me really well and he felt that it was really something we could do,” Jian said.

After taking one of Jian’s faculty yoga class, Freshman Algebra I teacher Liz Ramsey said that she has taken yoga classes before and that she was excited about it.

“I loved how yoga gave you that zen feeling when we were done, ” Ramsey said. “It’s really convenient, because she is next door.”

Jian said her passion for yoga is so strong that she decided not to stop with basic lessons. She said that in the future she wants to raise enough money to open up her own yoga studio and give private lessons to pro athletes in major colleges.

“This is a dream that seems possible to me,” Jian said. “My passion for teaching yoga is much more powerful than teaching literature or grammar. I want to share the hope and inspiring achievements that yoga has given me with everyone.”