From School Rifle Range to Healing Sanctuary

A Rifle Range in a School? Indeed, Oakland High School used to have a rifle range on campus, built by the JROTC (military recruitment) folks, but it is currently being used for yoga. An Oak High school teacher, who is trained in Niroga's Transformative Life Skills and is currently completing the Niroga Certified Yoga Teacher Training program, took it upon herself to transform the rifle range into a healing sanctuary, a safe space for transformative practice.

The teacher said, "I began to feel a transformation. It's not uncommon for educators to also feel symptoms of post-traumatic stress. We often absorb some of our student's suffering; researchers call this "secondary trauma" or "compassion fatigue. Since I was facilitating mindful yoga 5 times a day (once during each period) I noticed a new calm in my day, I could catch my breath, which became part of my self care."

Here's what some of the students had to say about how Mindful Yoga has helped them:

  • Mindfulness helps me with my life, my focus and my stress. I have a tough life, I'm going through a lot of things, you can't imagine, and this is the only quiet time of my day. 10th grader
  • I really need some mindfulness today, or I'm gonna go off on somebody. 11th grader
  • Ugh, my little brother was getting on my nerves and I sat him down and taught him mindfulness. 12th grader
  • When I'm mad or irritated, I can use yoga breathing techniques to help calm down. 11th grader
  • Thankfully this has helped me calm down from certain irrational situations. When someone makes me mad I practice deep breathing and walk away. Before I would have reacted in a way that wasn't positive. – 10th grader
  • I feel more confident after yoga. With my head up I say "I can do this". All these bad thoughts that have been in my head for so long have been disappearing somehow. I have been broken down for a while and I didn't know how long this pain would last. It's beginning to vanish. I used to break down into tears all the time, but now I feel stronger somehow. Yoga has been something special for me, for once in my life, I get to let go of what's been happening to me. 10th grader
  • Yoga has helped me mentally because I have anger issues, so when I get mad I practice deep breathing. This helps me stay out of a lot of trouble by preventing me from doing things I may regret later. Also when I'm able to control my anger I'm able to make better decisions, which can help me not just now, but the rest of my life. 10th grader