Get your flex on: new yoga class

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By Amanpreet Kaur, Halima Tokhi, Manpreet Kaur, and Tamanna Saidi, staff writers

As the 2018-2019 elective guide went out, Townsend Harris High School added a new physical education class to the inventory: Yoga. Physical education teacher Jamal Bermudez will lead the class in its first year. The Yoga class will also incorporate famous dances, like Latin, Zumba, and Hip Hop.

When asked about the structure of the class, Mr. Bermudez said, “I haven’t written the syllabus yet, but I believe the first semester will focus on yoga and the second semester will revolve around different genres of dance.”

He continued, “I am hoping that the class helps to bring flexibility, helps to generate core strength, and has a strong emphasis on cognitive mental health that I feel like many of the other physical education classes offered here lack.

The idea of outside instructors coming in to teach the students different types of dances came to mind as well, “I already have three salsa people that I know who want to come in and teach something.”

When asked why the school decided to add a physical education class, Assistant Principal of Health and Physical Education Ellen Fee said, “We wanted to utilize all spaces in our building as it’s sometimes hard to lead two separate classes in the gym. Our best option was a yoga class with a little dancing that could be taught by Mr. Bermudez in the auditorium.”

Various students are interested in the idea of having a physical education class focused on Yoga and Dance.

Sophomore Nick Urena commented, “This class is a great alternative to the hardcore weight training classes offered as it focuses more on flexibility and I think many students will sign up for this class instead of weight training.”

Senior Yiqin Zhang exclaimed, “I really wish they offered this class last year. I enjoy yoga outside of school. I tried to take it at Queens College senior year, but it didn’t fit into my schedule.”

Junior Simrandip Kaur relayed, “I think that the class would be great for anyone, even if you can’t dance like me, because Mr. B is the one teaching.”

Freshman Stephanie Hernandez said, “I’m really excited for this class because I always have wanted to learn how to do yoga.”

Mr. Bermudez believes everyone can take the class regardless of skill level, adding, “That’s the beauty of yoga class–you can go as far as you can. It is so modifiable. Besides, I’m still a beginner instructor, although I’ve taken yoga classes before.”

Programming Chair and English Teacher Raquel Chung provided results of the number of students who requested the new class. There are a total of 445 requests, overwhelmingly one sided, with 19 males and 426 females. The class was highly requested throughout all grades, not including incoming Freshman.

Mrs. Fee also stated, “If there are 160 students who request this class, there will be more classes. It matters what the students want.” With this overwhelming number of requests, there is a great chance of more than one Yoga/Dance class next school year.

Mr. Bermudez, in the end, hopes to “bring a level of tranquility and peace in the midst of all the chaos and stress that is the culture of our school with this new class.”