Here to namaste

Finding a way to relax in a world run by stress

More by Libby Sullivan
Libby Sullivan

More stories from Libby Sullivan

His Last Stand
April 1, 2017

Photo by: Libby Sullivan

Nehiley hosts her classes for students and teachers weekly.


Hold for 10 seconds.


Release for 10 seconds.

Slowly, legs uncross and draw into a bowing position, feeling each muscle pull in a new, but pleasant, way. Another slow deep breath to ease the mind and help it sync with the body.

Finding peace after a day of chaos.

After enrolling in a yoga teacher program at Houston Yoga & Ayurveda, Principles of Health Science teacher Eileen Nehiley started hosting yoga sessions at the school and began her first class Jan. 19.  

Nehiley’s passion for yoga began at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. She originally de-stressed and relaxed by cycling and swimming because they kept her fit and active; but when Nehiley injured her shoulder while swimming and wrists while cycling, she had to find a way to exercise and relieve stress in order to help her form a more balanced lifestyle.

“I had an inkling that I was looking for yoga,” Nehiley said. “I had tried yoga a couple of times over the years, but it didn’t resonate for me at the time. I thought I needed to be more active.”

Nehiley decided to once again attempt yoga. Immediately, Nehiley found a new passion. She continued to learn and grow as a yoga student, but almost three years later, decided to take a class for yoga instructors as a way to learn more about the activity..

“Yoga is a wonderful way of self-care. Yoga is about you. The teacher is a guide. The focus is on your breath and being kind to yourself,” Nehiley said. “Yoga has helped me in ways I would not have imagined. It helps with physical, emotional and mental wellness, balance and focus.”

After completing her yoga instructor training last year, Nehiley began sharing her love of yoga with her Principles of Health Science and Health Science Practicum students. She slowly shared bits and pieces of what she knew, and eventually Nehiley held her first unofficial class.

“We did yoga during class last spring on the weather make up day, after finals and sometimes during Cougar Den in the fall,” Nehiley said. “We did very simple poses and breathing techniques. So it was actually my Health Science students who generated the idea.”

Even though the class started small, as an extension of Nehiley’s Health Science classes, it soon began to grow into something more. She believes yoga could not only offer a way to pass time, but a way to help students unwind after facing a stressful day at school.

“Physical, non-competitive movement is good for anyone,” Nehiley said. “Yoga also includes conscious breathing and hand positions. Students who learn how to breathe consciously are able to focus and calm themselves more, it can improve class dynamic and student performance.”

On top of her dedication to the students, Nehiley also uses her expertise to aid teachers in finding a way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. She hosts teacher-only yoga sessions once a week, and teachers like fashion teacher, Mandi White, attest to seeing results.

“[I joined yoga] because it’s a lot healthier and better option than some of the more conventional options like going out and eating fast food on the way home or grabbing a quick drink, or anything like that,” Nehiley said. “It’s just a much better lifestyle option.”

Already Nehiley has hosted sessions for teacher and students, but even the administrative staff has chosen to join the program. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed the classes Nehiley has hosted and administrators like school secretary Mary Ann Guidry find the yoga classes relaxing and comforting.

“I think [the class] is special because, first off, Eileen is a very special person in and of herself, but also because you have a connection there,” Guidry said. “So, if you don’t understand something or you’re not comfortable she can help with that, but just knowing that it’s someone that you know and trust and that you’re comfortable with just really helps you relax.”  

Nehiley understands the importance of finding a balance in life, a time to relax and to recenter. Nehiley’s yoga sessions will help students find that balance and grow more comfortable in their day-to-day routine.

“Being able to relax or de-stress helps an individual function. Focusing on oneself on a regular basis makes it possible to interact with others more easily and be more focused in tasks we choose or are required to do,” Nehiley said. “Life is full of challenges. Taking a step back and literally breathing makes a difference.”