Stretching Past Stress

Female adult in yoga posture.
Amelia Perri leads the Anatomy and Psychology Classes in yoga.


Living the adolescent life has never been easy.  A season of time that includes rapid growth, changing physiques and hormonal elevators can feel like a daily cyclone for teenagers. Add academic, athletic, artistic and/or extracurricular demands and the all-too-familiar demon known as stress starts to play a major role in students’ lives.  

Enter yoga.

As part of their curriculum, STA Anatomy & Physiology and Psychology students have begun a unit on emotions and stress. Yoga is noted as a successful way to manage emotions and keep a pulse on one’s cognitive and biological well-being.  On-site yoga expert (and UTP Center Manager for STA’s international students), Amelia Perri, taught a class covering skeletal anatomy, muscle groups and respiratory practices. She relayed how yoga is more than just stretching- it is a fusion of stretching, strengthening postures, and breathing exercises that heighten one’s awareness of the physical body, which also helps clear the mind.

“As these students were all female, today was all about female empowerment,” said Ms. Perri. “Invoking energy within to enhance self-love and self-care, challenging the girls to be kind and gentle to themselves and others, while having the courage to be bold and powerful- these were the messages behind today’s lesson.”

Those messages are ones STA champions every day for every student. Thank you, Ms. Perri, for sharing positivity, strength and empowerment with our Saints.


Note:  Classical yoga is a holistic discipline that originated in Hinduism and that sought enlightenment through a series of exercises that unite the body, mind and spirit.  In a 2015 homily, Pope Francis cautioned against Catholics practicing in the spiritual or meditative aspects of yoga while acknowledging that the physical exercises are certainly acceptable.  Much like lowering the body to the knees does not engage one in the worship of God, posture must be combined with intent or other prayerful act for kneeling to become an act of worship.

SoulCore is growing in popularity and combines isometric exercises with praying the rosary. A local chapter is available in the Dover/Rochester area and is led by Denise Speechley.