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Long Island school districts practice yoga, meditation to de-stress | News Day

A sense of mindfulness is making its way into some Long Island classrooms, where educators and students are practicing yoga and meditation and participating in acupressure and drum circles to foster well-being.

In the Three Village school district, leaders at R.C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook introduced a Winter Wellness Series as a way to improve morale and decrease stress among faculty and staff members.

“It’s very hard being a teacher these days. We are up against a lot,” said school social worker Debbi Rakowsky, who organized the effort. “It is one of those jobs where you are here and making a difference every day and . . . I think you need to be pampered a little and it reflects on the kids.”

One workday last month, soothing music played and an essential oils diffuser scented a break room where a handful of staff members reclined in chairs. A licensed practitioner went from one person to the next, applying acupressure and acupuncture to their shoulders, heads and feet.

The wellness series was launched after a school-based committee looked at ways to improve well-being among staff. There was no cost for bringing in the practitioners, who were district alumni or community members who volunteered for the three sessions, scheduled over the course of a few weeks in February. The sessions included guided meditation and a drum circle.

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