Algonquin teacher bound for the beginnings of yoga
By Dani Robbins, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Debra Newman, like many public school teachers, has a busy life outside the halls of Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS). A certified yoga teacher since 2002, Newman is the English Department’s resident yogi, teaching multiple yoga classes a week on top of her academic classes at ARHS. Meanwhile, she keeps up her own physical and mental practice. Her years of dedication to the lifestyle have granted her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: this spring she will venture all the way across the globe to the birthplace of yoga, India.
World travel is nothing new to Newman, who has explored the Netherlands, Iceland, and Belgium. However, this journey will serve as a “study abroad” opportunity for her yoga practice. Upon arrival in Kerala, India, Newman will be participating in a 500-hour Vinyasa yoga training for advanced teaching certification. She expects her daily training schedule during her stay to be intense.
“Monday through Thursday is all training from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays are for integration and exploration off campus,” she explained.
In order to earn her current certification, Newman first went through a 10-month intensive, comprehensive program in Princeton, Mass., from September through June of 2001-2002. But before her teaching career came to be, Newman focused on her own personal yoga practice, which began in 1995 and has evolved over the years.
“Though I still have a fairly strong physical yoga practice, I am more focused on the philosophy, lifestyle and meditation and chanting practices,” she said.
Newman has also brought her expertise to Algonquin’s extracurricular scene, serving as advisor for the school’s new Yoga Club. She has also been working with the boy’s winter track team on Fridays, as the physical benefits of yoga (core strength, focus and flexibility) can be utilized by these athletes.
The influence of yoga even makes its way into the classroom, especially during her Non-western Literature and World Literature classes. She expects that her trip this spring will bring on new-found knowledge, and will contribute immensely to the Indian literature/poetry/film unit that she teaches as a part of these courses. Above all, Newman expects that her journey will alter her as a person.
“It will be life-changing, for sure. When I return, you may see me floating through the hallways of the ‘Reg.,’” she said.
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