My Teaching Journey

Category: Wellness Project (Page 1 of 2)

Looking Back

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At the start of this semester, I was somehow under the impression that by the end of this project I would be a yoga expert and basically capable of leading a yoga class to my future students. That is clearly not what happened during this learning project, but I am still proud of what I have learned and tried over this semester.

My goal was shifted along the way with an emphasis more on yoga breathing to help me destress. This has had a big impact on me personally because I found this semester to be especially challenging and stressful and I re-adjusted to in-person learning and a full course load (plus a full-day field placement) which I haven’t done since my second semester in my first year. So, the breathing strategies and the yin-style yoga really helped me learn that I can control my stress levels by practicing yoga.

As you can tell in my blogs, this project also had a major impact on me professionally. I was very fortunate to be placed in a classroom where my cooperating teacher incorporates yoga into her classroom and I was able to learn from her and also take in some valuable online resources.

Hot Yoga? YOU BET

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Last week, I was too scared to jump right into the actual hot yoga but now that I’ve tried warm yoga I figured I was ready to go!

This class was called Hot Yin/Yang

This class is designed to offer the balancing effects of yin (passive) yoga and yang (active) yoga. The relaxing Yin practice long holds ensure safe opening of connective tissue while stimulating, releasing and calming the body and mind. Postures are kept simple and emphasis is on targeting all of the meridians (energy lines) of the body. The Yang portion that follows works to enhance muscular effort by working already-warmed and open muscles to their full potential.

  • Yin tissues = ligaments, bones, joints
  • Yang tissues = muscles, blood, skin
  • Yang is rhythmic and repetitive, and is intended to stress the muscles.

I could DEFINITELY feel the difference between a yin yoga class and a yang yoga class. I really struggled with a lot of the poses in this class because my balance really isn’t great and my legs were shaking so bad in some poses I could barely hold them for the whole time. So, you could tell it was meant to be more of a workout than a mindfulness exercise (or that’s the way I felt).

On my Fitbit, you can very easily tell which parts of the class were yin focused and which parts were yang focused based on my heart rate.

After trying both yin and yang, I think yin yoga might be more my cup of tea.

I’ve tried yang yoga a couple of times now throughout my life and I just never enjoy it as much as I did in my yin class last week. But at least I gave it another try and it was still a great learning experience!

Hot Yoga? No… Warm Yin Yoga!

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When I first started this project, one of the things I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to try was hot yoga. Well, the end of the semester is coming up fast so I decided I would finally do that goal and brave an in-person yoga class (it wasn’t as intimidating because I made my roommate tag along with me)!

What is yin yoga?

Normal yin yoga is “Yin Yoga is great for everybody! We live in a crazy busy world! This is a stretch/release practice that targets the tendons, ligaments and fascia within the body. Each posture is held for extended periods of time to encourage the slow and safe connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine to stress and create a counterbalance to more active style(Yang) yoga”

Warm yin yoga is “Heated up to 36-39 degrees and 35-40% humidity. Warm Yin class with soft music to relax your mind and spirit is great for beginners. Gathering the benefits for your joints, ligaments and connective tissues to refresh and rejuvenate your body from the inside out”

How did it go?

I actually really enjoyed this class! It was very laid back and there was no pressure, you were only expected to do the pose the best that you could. I also really liked that there were variations of each pose to decrease or increase difficulty. The instructor prompted us to find our “goldilocks pose” where we could feel a nice stretch but also so there were no shooting pains or numbness. One of the things I really liked about the class was that my instructor kept saying that no matter what variation of the pose we needed to do, as long as we were focusing on controlling our breathing we were doing yoga. I feel like this was very nice to hear since that just happened to be what this learning project really turned into. She explained that controlling and extending breathing is such an important skill in and out of yoga because when we get stressed our breathing is one of the first things to be disrupted and it usually turns into very short breaths.

deep breaths

The instructor also talked a lot about our bodies fascia which is our “is a fibrous tissue that ‘connects’ every cell in our body. This connective tissue forms a 3-dimensional web of our body, extending from our head to our toes. Fascia surrounds and infuses every muscle, muscle fibre, bone, blood vessel, nerve and organ in our body. It also directly affects our body systems like our muscular and neurological systems.” The instructor explained how we need to take care of our fascia because “When we have a restriction in our body, our fascia becomes dehydrated, stiff, weak and stuck. Along with hydration and other healthy lifestyle choices, Yoga (especially slow yoga-like Yin Yoga), changes our connective tissue.”

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I feel like it was not only a good physical stretch and very relaxing but I also learned so much that I didn’t know before!

Here is a picture of my roommate and I all stress-free after our first “hot yoga” class!

Yoga in the Classroom pt. 2

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Once again this week in my field placement, my coop teacher played a yoga video for the students. This time, she played it at the end of the day because there was some extra time after my coop partner and I finished our lesson and before they needed to write their agenda message. The video she played was very similar to the last one, this one just wasn’t Halloween-themed. It seems like she must really like the “super yoga” videos by cosmic kids yoga because those are the types of videos I’ve seen her use so far.

Another yoga thing I have seen my coop teacher use is a breathing ball. This ball is kept in the classroom “zen den” where students can go if they need a couple of minutes to just be alone and have time to self-regulate. My coop teacher suggested that if we do a brain break in our lesson, that we could also use the breathing ball to work on some guided breathing at the end of the brain break to bring them in and ready for the lesson. Which I thought is a really good idea.

Fun Mindfulness Tool & Activity – The Breathing Ball aka Hoberman Sphere -  Blissful Kids

Back to Breathing Exercises

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In my previous blogs, I had been working on breathing exercises to help me with stress. I have really noticed that nights before my field placement have been the hardest to fall asleep because I am so worried about how my lesson will go. I recently realized that my FitBit app and watch have features for breathing exercises! So, I decided to try those out.

I first listened to a 7 min video called “unwind with a body scan ” to try and help calm me down.

Then, I still felt very anxious so I listed to a different video. This one was called “Relax with Guided Breathing.”

This video tracked my body’s EDA responses too which was very cool to learn about what that means and how it is tracked.

I found that this was very convenient since I can control it right from my wrist and look at the data right on my phone. I also feel like it did help me be able to fall asleep a bit better than if I would have just tried to do guided breathing on my own.

First Experiences of Yoga in a Classroom

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I am currently doing my pre-internship field placement in a 1/2 split class! I just finished my third day this week and so far I have seen my coop teacher and also the student’s physical education teacher use yoga videos in the classroom!

welcome classroom

My coop teacher used a Halloween-themed yoga video which isn’t even something that I would have thought could be a thing! She used the yoga video at the end of the day sort of after the last lesson but before they wrote their agenda messages. This is the video she used:

The physical education teacher used GoNoodle to show a quick yoga video at the end of the class to get the students back ready for learning. Here is the video that the teacher had used. When I was trying to find the video on GoNoodle, I realized that there are plenty more yoga-type videos on there under the “stretch” category!

Jumping Back into Yoga

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So far this learning journey has sort of been all of the place. I started off by jumping right into a yoga class and then I narrowed in on breathing aspects so I figured it was time to do some yoga again! It helped that I had some free time this weekend and went out to my parent’s house. And my mom really loves doing yoga so I got her to do the video with me!

We just did a quick yoga video together but I enjoyed it! I even remembered lots of the moves from my first class and my research. It was supposed to be a very relaxing/ stress relieving video but of course, that’s not always reality because my dog was so excited while we were trying to do the video he kept bringing us toys to play with him. So, that was very distracting. Another distraction was that my mom and I kept getting the giggles when we were trying to figure out a new pose!

laugh cry

Here are some pictures!

Building on Last Weeks Breathing Exercises

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Mixed Feelings

As I mentioned last week, I can definitely see the potential benefit of yoga breathing strategies. However, I find that I get bored too quickly and then my mind starts to wander back to the things that stress me out. I think that a large part of this is because I can’t visualize things at all. I only realized last year that most people actually can visualize things. I thought phrases like “picture this” or “counting sheep” to fall asleep were just funny saying/expressions. I didn’t realize that people could actually do those things.

deep breaths

How to combat the boredom

Thanks to tiktok always listening and somehow always putting the perfect things on my “for you page” I came across an app called “Breathwrk” that offers visual aids for breathing exercises.


Reply to @dina_x2008 #greenscreenvideo how is everyone doing today ? #breathing #fypシ

♬ ummmm – esh??‍♂️

Of course, the app’s description just perfectly aligns with my goals for breathing exercises. Tiktok knew exactly what they were doing showing me the app. The description on the app store goes as follows:

“Breathwrk guides you through quick and powerful breathing exercises that eliminate stress & anxiety, increase energy, improve endurance, and help you fall asleep. Learn and practice a variety of science-backed breathing methods that are guided by original music, vibrations, and visuals.”


So, of course, I had to download the app and try it out because it sort of seemed like the perfect solution.

Trying out Breathwrk

I was very excited to jump in and try out the breathwrk app. Of course it wasn’t AS exciting as I was hoping because there is a bunch of in-app purchases and a “pro” version that you can get. So, the free options are very limited. That being said, I did still really enjoy the few free options that there are and there is a couple different visuals you can choose from which is very nice! Overall, I’d say it’s a win but I just wish everything was free (if only eh)!

Using Yoga Components To Get Through a Busy Semester

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The end of September:

These last couple of weeks of September have been INSANE! It’s just assignment after assignment and I can just barely keep up with everything that I need to be doing between all the readings in each class and all the assignments. Because of this I have been having trouble prioritizing any time for myself at all, let alone to do a full yoga class.

I found that a lot of my stress typically piles up at night as I see my unfinished to-do list but still chose to go to bed because sleep is very also very important (and it’s usually around midnight anyway). I find myself tossing and turning as I worry about the things I should have done throughout the day and how on earth I will find the time to catch up because there is already another full to-do list waiting for me tomorrow.

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Alleviating Night-Time Stresses

I recalled my learnings from my initial yoga research and my Indigenous-minded yoga class about how breathing and controlling your breathing is a crucial component of yoga. So, I decided if I can’t prioritize a full yoga class, let’s break it down and focus on just one part. So, I chose breathing.

Where to start?

I remember in the yoga class I did we did a lot of “Siitkari Kumbhaka or the hissing breath” which is where you “Inhale through the nose, hold your breath for eight seconds and exhale through the mouth, while resting your teeth on your tongue and producing the sound s-s-s with your tongue. In addition to reduced pitta (heat), benefits include purification of the senses”

I decided that I didn’t really want to do this breathing to calm myself down at night because I felt like there was maybe other breathing strategies out there that could be better AND I don’t want my roommate to think I’m crazy for hissing every night before bed.

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So, I decided to keep looking and found a site that has yoga breathing specifically for sleeping. This site suggested three different ideas:

  1. Couting your exhalations
  2. Lengthening your exhalations
  3. Left nostril breathing

In case anyone is as confused as I was, left nostril breathing is all about how “The left side of our body represents the moon channel; the more cooling and introverted aspects of ourselves. The right side represents the sun channel with more heating and extroverted characteristics. In this technique, lie on your right side, and with your right thumb block your right nostril. As you breathe in and out of your left nostril, feel how you are cooling and calming your body.”

Giving it a go:

I sort of have mixed feelings about each of these strategies. When I first start doing them, I can definitely feel myself calming down and my heart rate slowing. But then even if I am really focusing on my breathing or counting my exhales my mind still seems to wander off and think about everything I am stressed about. I realize that this is my first time really focusing and working on it so maybe it takes time?

Jumping Right In!

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Since Last Time….

Since my last post, I sort of came up with a more specific mental plan of how I would break down this learning. I was originally thinking that I would:

  1. Start by reserching more yoga to see what I wanted to start with
  2. Then, I was going to look for beginner yoga online sources, such as youtube videos or apps, to start my learning (mainly because jumping right into a in person class seems a little too nerve-wracking)
  3. Next, I was going to start looking for online sources that were for specific types of yoga and begin working through those
  4. By this point I figured I would have a little taste of everything and can finally brave going to a real yoga class! (most likely a UR Fit class because they are free)
  5. After grasping what yoga is actually all about and experiencing different types I was going to really start digging into yoga in the classroom resources and begin trying some of those out while drawing from my above experiences
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This plan sounded pretty solid to me! BUT everything got thrown off course when I was waiting for the elevator and saw an event that residence life was putting on called “Indigenous Minded Yoga”

Change of Plans

Turns out I was jumping right into an actual yoga class! Thankfully, the Indigenous Minded Yoga class was held over zoom so it was much less intimidating and I still got to be in the comfort of my own dorm!

Yoga Teacher Training; – Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga Association (

The class was taught by Michelle Beatty who is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and she is from and resides in Deschambault Lake, Saskatchewan on treaty six territory. Michelle received her certification in a 200hour Yoga teacher training from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Yoga teacher association. Michelle is a third-year Kinesiology student at the University of Regina and a fourth-year Indigenous Health studies student at the First Nation University of Canada.

It was a pretty sweet yoga class because I was actually the only one who registered for the event to actually show up! So, it ended up being a 1 on 1 Indigenous Minded Yoga lesson! I had never actually heard of Indigenous Minded Yoga before I saw the poster hanging up so I have a feeling maybe some of you are wondering what it actually is. Well, it is a combination of vinyasa yoga combined with Indigenous ways of living, knowledge and practices! Michelle said that she actually sees yoga as a ceremony.

During the class, I learned that yoga is more than just a fitness fad. It is actually an eastern philosophy born in east India. Yoga is actually something many people embody every day by following The Yogi Code which is not something I had previously realized. Michelle explained how there are many similarities between this worldview and the Indigenous worldview where they instead follow the red road or the sacred path to live a good life. She also explained how yoga is something we are all born doing, we are on the ground moving around and many of us never come back to it. But when we do it can lead to self-actualization because it leads to better mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, specifically but it is all around about holistic healing.

Michelle opened the practice with a prayer, sweetgrass smudge, and some breathwork exercises. Then, we moved into some yoga sequences which were tied to symbolic animals. Here are some pictures of the poses that I may or may not be doing correctly! But hey, you gotta start somewhere! (I apologize if the qaulity isn’t the best, I screenshot them from a video).

Overall, I actually really enjoyed this yoga class and the 30 minutes flew by super fast because I was constantly trying to figure out the new poses (the only one I knew of before hand was the tree pose), how to properly move to the next pose, and time my breathing with the movements. I thought I was going to feel really tired after because yoga is relaxing (apperently in my head relaxing = tired) but I actually felt really almost revived/refreshed after the class so I was plesently surprised!

I am not 100% sure what I will do next week considering I jumped right into the middle of my plan but stay tuned to find out!

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See you next week folks!
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