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Posted: 12/18/20

New TAMIU-LISD Collaboration Brings Stress-Reduction Yoga Practice to Students

 

Dr. Bernice Sanchez
College of Education associate professor Dr. Bernice Y. Sánchez  

This story produced in partnership with the LISD Office of Communications

With the added tensions brought about by a pandemic Fall, a powerful collaboration between Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and Laredo Independent School District (LISD) hopes to lower students’ stress levels while elevating  a sense of mindfulness. 

Both are central tenets of the regular practice of  yoga and figure prominently in a  collaborative project directed by TAMIU College of Education associate professor Dr. Bernice Y. Sánchez, and LISD’s  Hector J. García Early College High School (GECHS). 

García students were provided with an opportunity to enroll in an Aerobic Fitness course or a Mindful Yoga Health and Wellness course.  The latter is a 50-minute course focused on a holistic system of mind-body awareness practices for mental and physical health wellness. The course is wellness-focused and guided, said Dr. Sánchez.

“Our course design involves breathing exercises that enhance lung-functioning aligned with deep relaxation techniques to cultivate the ability to physically and mentally release tension and stress.  We also follow scripted physical yoga postures, or exercises, that promote strength and flexibility to improve healthy lifestyle habits, and  mental well-being.  This is specifically relevant  for adolescent minds, alongside enhanced awareness of emotion regulation skills,”  Sánchez explained. 

She said that when the course was designed, the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic was unexpected, but the course  transitioned to virtual delivery. 

“While the COVID-19 Pandemic did not exist when I developed the course, it seems apparent that now more than ever participating in this type of course provides a welcome opportunity to engage in healthy values and practices that improve health and wellness through mindful yoga practices. For young students who have seen their traditional classroom experience transition dramatically, this is especially important,” she noted. 

GECHS principal Margarita Taboada said she is grateful for the opportunity the school’s students received to participate in the yoga course. 

“I am thankful to Dr. Bernice Sanchez and Texas A&M International University for extending the opportunity to García Early College students to participate in a yoga course,” she said, “It was wonderful that our students learned and experienced the physical and mental benefits of yoga.”

 Kelsey Castro, a student who took the Mindful Yoga Health and Wellness course, said the course was indeed helpful to her. 

“This chance to experience yoga has helped me in so many ways. I got to discover how to keep my body fit and flexible while developing more clarity within myself and my emotions,” she said, “It really left a positive impact on my life.” 

For additional information about the TAMIU-LISD collaboration, contact Dr. Sánchez at bsanchez@tamiu.edu or call 956.326.2670. 

GECHS is a partnership between LISD and TAMIU. It is a small public high school (a maximum of 480 students) that draws students from every middle school in LISD. GECHS offers a rigorous academic program with a small, personalized setting. Its mission is to provide its students with the cognitive skills and subject area knowledge that they need to master in order to succeed in today’s colleges and universities. Students who attend GECHS must have a strong work ethic that will contribute to a successful college experience. 

For additional information on GECHS, contact Taboada at 956.273.7700. 

Registration  for TAMIU’s Spring Semester 2021 is underway now. Classes begin Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Late registration continues through Jan. 29.

 

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