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Students at Catholic high school use ‘downward dog’ to deal with stress, anxiety

WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary catholic high school is using yoga to help battle anxiety and depression. Global’s Doug Vaessen reports.

CALGARY – St. Francis High School is adding the art of perfecting yoga poses to its studies.

The school has added a yoga program in order to help students cope with growing anxiety and depression.

The school’s principal, Mark Berger, believed that students at his school had higher levels of stress and anxiety than the national and provincial norm.

“The kids have been talking about it,” said Berger. “Staff has been very interested in this as well. I think it’s going to be a great program.”

One Calgary Catholic School District survey found that girls in particular needed something new. It reported that anxiety and depression levels are almost two-thirds higher than the Canadian standard.

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Anita Miotti is teaching the first Calgary Catholic Yoga Program.

“Something like yoga provides an opportunity to look at health and wellness in a different way,” explained Miotti. “I am hoping that students will come in here and this will be a different place to be than everywhere outside this room.”

Grade 11 student Naomi Attrill is taking full advantage of the new course.

“Grade 11 has been so busy just with the courses I have to take,” she said. “I think we just look for a way to relax and just to forget about it.”

The program already has 200 students enrolled.