Fighting test stress with the lotus position

Brooklyn Daily
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It’s the downward-facing middle-school student!

An intermediate school in Sheepshead Bay that fears it’s kids are getting stressed-out by the state’s tough “Common Core” standards has added a new after-school class to help them deal with the pressure: yoga.

The new after-school relaxation program at IS 98 Bay Academy is combines elements of dance and yoga to combat junior high school students’ stress, which the program director blames on the new testing standards of the Common Core.

“The emphasis on learning to relax and concentrate is especially relevant today as the school system rolls out the new Common Core standards that include rigorous tests that can increase pressure on students,” said Irina Roizin, director for the Bay Academy after-school program.

Roizin said in today’s school environment, students are so bombarded by tests and homework, they don’t have time to decompress. She said this new program will help them learn one of life’s most important lessons — peace of mind.

“I was looking into a lot of problems happening in public schools right now — the kids don’t have time to relax,” said Roizin. “We think yoga is going to help them.”

One of the instructors, Sofya Ershova, who taught a similar program at PS 215, said she will teach the kids yogic breathing techniques she learned while she was studying in Japan — and she hopes the youngsters will carry these relaxation techniques with them throughout the school day.

“My wish is that by using these techniques, students will be better able to relax and concentrate during the school day,” she said.

Another instructor said since the class is all about relieving stress, the kids don’t have to worry about learning specific poses or perfecting any techniques.

“This is for everyone — that is why we do these programs,” said Irina Lapteva, who specializes in ballet. “Any kid will be able to enjoy dancing, do yoga. It doesn’t require specific training or body type.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her
Posted 12:00 am, August 27, 2014
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