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Meditation In The Classroom
by Chris Georgakopoulos
First published in
The Express 24 February 2015

Lakemba Public School has introduced weekly yoga classes to help students deal with anxiety and stress. Full report, page 9.

Yoga helps youth de-stress.

Yoga is being used to relieve schoolchildren who are feeling the pressure of modern-day society.

Lakemba Public School runs a weekly yoga class led by instructor, Despina Rosales.

School learning support co-ordinator Kerry Longo said the program had worked wonders for several students.

"We had someone who didn't want to come to school at all and that student now is front and centre during classes," Ms Longo said.

"There are other kids that have just been withdrawn in the playground, whereas now they are a lot more confident.

"It is amazing how something like yoga can make a positive influence on children's lives."

Before the program, the school had limited capacity to support children experiencing stress and anxiety, with a school counsellor on-site only one day a week.

Year 6 student, Miesha Binta Noor, believed yoga had helped ease tensions such as studying for tests and competitive sports.

Lakemba Public School local facilitator, Wendi Etherington, successfully applied for $3200 funding from the Canterbury League Club's ClubGrants program for the yoga classes.

"It's been amazing because kids who previously had a lot of anxiety issues seem to have a better way of dealing with it now," Ms Etherington said.

"Despina teaches them breathing techniques, and I can see how much of a help it is. They have also improved in flexibility, core strength and balance."

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SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!

Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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