BOCA RATON, Fla. — Shari Kline says learning to practice yoga has completely changed her life.
"I can show up in any situation in my life and find peace and gratitude that comes from somewhere inside and I didn’t always have that," said Kline, a Boca Raton resident.
Kline became a certified yoga instructor last year. When the pandemic hit, she wanted to find a way to give the gift yoga has given her, to educators.
"I have three kids. And last year, the second half of the year, I had them home doing virtual school and I can only imagine what it’s like for a teacher with a room full of children and a computer full of children trying to deal with all that’s going on," said Kline.
Kline decided to start offering yoga for free to any educator interested in joining her for an hour in the park.
"We've got educators who already are stressed and overworked and under-appreciated and then you add on a pandemic that has them teaching in the classroom and virtually and trying to figure that all out at the same time and it’s brand new to them. Add in that you have kids coming in with stress and anxiety because they're going through a pandemic in their own households and the teachers are dealing with all of that so beautifully and taking care of our children," said Kline.
Every Tuesday afternoon, you'll find Kline at South County Regional Park setting up for the class. She uses sidewalk chalk to write inspirational words and messages of encouragement around where the teachers will lay their mats. For an hour, the educators stretch, reflect, connect and let go.
"This has been a stressful year for everybody. Teachers have a lot on their plate, we all have a lot on our plate. And we have to take time to take care of ourselves, to take care of other people," said Dina Marschke, a first-grade teacher.
Kline says she is just grateful to be in a position to give this gift. And so are the 15 to 20 educators who regularly show up.
"It starts with you. If you take care of yourself, you can be there for those kids. So yoga is your time," said Dido Balla, a high school English teacher.
Kline hopes everyone who attends walks away reminded of how important they are and how much of a difference they are making in the lives of their students.
“In all of the hectic and crazy of the world right now, find something that really gets you grounded and centered in your life so that you can then, when you interact with other people, whether it’s students in a classroom or people you run into in the grocery store, that you’re coming from a space of peace,” said Kline.
Kline teaches the class every Tuesday at 4:30pm near the playground at South County Regional Park off of Yamato Road in West Boca. Kline says all educators are welcome including teachers, staff, therapists or anyone who works directly with children.