Teachers Compete in Epic Yoga Battles

WBHS Staff Comes Together to Promote Benefits of Yoga


Ben Goldman and Emma Lundgren


Next semester, West Bloomfield High School’s unprecedented after-school yoga program will resume for another round of sessions.

Yoga has an overwhelmingly positive effect on students, such as de-stressing and an increase in focus, concentration, and motivation.  To help promote these effects, several teachers and staff members agreed to compete in a unique yoga pose face-off.  The rules were simple: the staff members were asked to demonstrate their favorite yoga pose and what that pose means to them.

The staff members were paired off in order to compete. The winner of each pair will win a prize, so make sure to vote for your favorites!

1) Mrs. McQuillan vs. Mr. Corcoran

Mrs. McQuillan is a strong believer in the positive effects of yoga. She participates in yoga classes, and every year incorporates yoga into her Honors American Literature and Points of View curriculums.

For this face-off, she pulled out her yoga mat and showed off an incredible arm balancing pose.

“I like arm balances because I think that the idea of balance is something I am searching for in my life,” said Mrs. McQuillan. She plays many roles, such as a teacher, mom, daughter, granddaughter, and literary gardener. Due to this, she is on an ongoing search for balance in her life.

Mrs. McQuillan’s arm balancing is a tough act to beat, but Mr. Corcoran gladly accepted the challenge. While Mr. Corcoran is not an avid yogi like Mrs. McQuillan is, he is still aware of its benefits. For this face-off, he decided to demonstrate an original creation.

In typical Corcoran fashion, however, he provided an appropriate one-liner as an explanation: “No matter where you go, there you are. That doesn’t make much sense, but neither does the pose.”

So it goes.

Who won? Mrs. McQuillan or Mr. Corcoran?

  • Mr. Corcoran (61%, 31 Votes)
  • Mrs. McQuillan (39%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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2) Mr. Abel vs. Dr. Brandell

In this highly anticipated face-off, Mr. Abel picked a pose that many mistake as being simple: Savasana. Often ascribed as one of the hardest yoga poses to master, Savasana is best summed up as being “awake yet fully relaxed.” The body is not just napping, and certainly not sleeping. It is fully conscious with normal breathing, although your eyes are closed and your body rests still.

Several studies, including a notable one by the Yoga Journal, proved that practicing effective Savasana can help relieve headaches, fatigue, and even mild depression.

Because of these benefits, Mr. Abel sees Savasana as a valuable pose for students to know.

Dr. Brandell, on the other hand, focused on the balance and coordination that yoga provides. “Life is all about balance,” he said. Thus, he is comforted to know that students engaging in the after-school yoga program will lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

Who won? Mr. Abel or Dr. Brandell?

  • Dr. Brandell (59%, 29 Votes)
  • Mr. Abel (41%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 49

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3) Mr. Latra vs. Leroy

Mr. Latra is proud that West Bloomfield High School is offering the after-school yoga program. For his picture, he excitedly whipped out an epic Karate Kid pose, demonstrating the fun aspects of yoga.

Leroy, on the other hand, knew that yoga is important for students, but wasn’t familiar with any particular pose. So, he opted to demonstrate a simple tree pose, and gave an explanation on the importance of yoga as a whole:

“Students would be more peaceful. I believe in exercise and yoga, so I think it’s very important. And yoga is like karate, you find out that you don’t want to hurt nobody, you just want to be at peace with everybody.”

As a security guard, peace and harmony within the school is what Leroy strives to accomplish. Providing this yoga program will only help with achieving this goal, for yoga promotes inner-peace (as shown in Savasana) as well as peace amongst others.

Who won? Mr. Latra or Leroy?

  • Leroy (66%, 31 Votes)
  • Mr. Latra (34%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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4) Mr. Johnson vs. Mrs. Ismail

Mr. Johnson focused on the strength and endurance that yoga provides. In doing so, he pushed himself to do a pose that was difficult, but still one he could pull off.

Mrs. Ismail also demonstrated great strength in her breathtaking inversion.

“Inversions are supposed to be a way to just restart your day,” said Mrs. Ismail, “so it feels really good to be able to go upside down and then come back and just feel really good about how I’m going to approach my day.”

As with Mrs. McQuillan, Mrs. Ismail is also an avid yogi. The yoga helps clear her mind, prepare her for the day, and is a catalyst for her positivity that is palpable to students. This one pose, the inversion, represents what yoga as a whole does for her: it kickstarts her day in a positive way.

Who won? Mr. Johnson or Mrs. Ismail?

  • Mrs. Ismail (53%, 25 Votes)
  • Mr. Johnson (47%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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5) Mr. Fraylick vs. Mrs. Zanotti

For his yoga pose, Mr. Fraylick drew inspiration from what matters most to him. “I chose the happy baby yoga pose for my baby girl Tess. She is nine months old and does that business all the time.” Mr. Fraylick’s daughter inspires him immensely, and hopefully his yoga pose in her spirit will inspire students to sign up for the after-school program.

Mrs. Zanotti knew she had to do something extraordinary to beat Mr. Fraylick’s pose. So she did just that, and demonstrated an incredible downward dog pose.

This pose has several benefits. “It elongates the spine, and it allows for more flow to come to the brain,” said Mrs. Zanotti. “It allows me to be more focused.”

Who won? Mr. Fraylick or Mrs. Zanotti?

  • Mr. Fraylick (82%, 36 Votes)
  • Mrs. Zanotti (18%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 44

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6) Mrs. Abeska vs. Noodle

Both Mrs. Abeska and Noodle spawned breathtaking tree poses.

Mrs. Abeska explained the symbolism she finds in this pose: “Trees are strong and have wonderful foundation and roots. My roots are here at West Bloomfield High School where I was once a student and am now a teacher!”

After many failed attempts of the downward dog pose, Noodle reluctantly agreed to do a competing tree pose.

The question is: did he pull off a better tree pose than Mrs. Abeska? It is a tough call, but when asked of his experience, Noodle didn’t have much to say. Still, he was given a cookie for being a good boy while taking the picture. This goes to show that even dogs reap benefits from yoga. For Noodle, the reward is a cookie; for the students that partake in the yoga program, the reward is a calm and motivated mind free from stress.

Who won? Mrs. Abeska or Noodle?

  • Noodle (87%, 41 Votes)
  • Mrs. Abeska (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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For more information on the after-school yoga program, and how yoga can help YOU de-stress, please contact Dr. Hoffert at [email protected]