Math teacher hopes to start yoga classes at high school

Bobby Otto plans to teach yoga next semester


Anika Hanson

Bobby Otto helps sophomore Elliot Salmon with his math homework. According to Otto, he tries to incorporate the mindfulness aspect of yoga into the classroom because it benefits himself and his students.

Emma Leff and Anika Hanson

According to math teacher Bobby Otto, yoga offers many benefits that have helped him manage stress. Because he thinks it also can help students, he is planning to start teaching a morning yoga class this upcoming semester.

“(Yoga) is just a relaxation time, where you can start feeling your body, feeling your headspace and seeing where you’re at,” Otto said. “Most people take breath … for granted, (but) it’s something that can calm you, it can get you excited and it can kind of level you off in situations where you might need it.”

Otto said he planned to start a yoga class in the fall, but time constraints pushed it to the spring semester.

“Originally I was planning on having a yoga class this fall semester, but I got really busy teaching a new section of AP Statistics. I kind of have to set the groundwork for it, and I didn’t want to have to rush into something that I didn’t feel ready for because then students wouldn’t benefit from it either,” Otto said.

According to senior Madison McIntosh, she is interested in the class because yoga allows her to take a break from her surroundings.

“I think it’s super good to go to a space where you’re not thinking about anything else going on in your life. It’s just nice to clear your head, relax and take some time to take care of yourself,” McIntosh said.

Otto said he hopes to have short meetings before school that concentrates on breathing.

“I am thinking about doing Tuesday and Thursday morning (or) whatever works for students best,” Otto said. “(I want to have) really short practices that focus more on breathing techniques and stretching — nothing that gets you all sweaty in the morning but something that kind of grounds students and me before school starts.”

According to junior Aaron Ellingson, he would be interested in the class because of his previous experience with Otto as a yoga teacher.

“I would most definitely take Mr. Otto’s yoga class,” Ellingson said. “In fact, one time when (the football team) was supposed to do our Saturday yoga with Ms. Gust, she was absent and (Otto) filled in. It was great.”

Otto said yoga has had a big positive impact on him that has helped shape his life.

“I think (yoga) made me a much happier person overall. It’s something I look forward to and something that I use (as) a stress management technique along with a relaxation technique. Plus, I’ve gained a lot of friends and acquaintances through yoga,” Otto said. “It has kind of rounded out my whole life.”

According to Otto, despite his original belief that yoga was only for flexible people, anybody is capable of doing it.

“The biggest misconception that I had initially was that … yoga is for flexible people. I was the ‘not flexible one,’ so I thought that’s why I shouldn’t do yoga, but everyone can become flexible,” Otto said.