Yoga Lights A Path From Doubt To Championships

May 26, 2021
Sherri Austin, a veteran physical education teacher in Saugatuck, Michigan, was skeptical when she learned that a community volunteer was going to teach yoga to the kids in her “Lifetime Sports and Fitness” class.
“We had some pretty tough kids, harder kids who were struggling with school. And here was this soft-spoken, gentle, older man,” she recalls. “And then I watched him on the mat, transforming these kids. He sold me.”
The soft-spoken man was Ron Collins, a Kripalu Yoga teacher. He told Sherri that with the right training, she could take over. 
“Listen, I’m a jock,” says Sherri. “I would have said, ‘are you crazy, me doing yoga?’”
Ron wasn’t crazy. He, and the school, encouraged Sherri as she pursued her training in 2017. She completed her 200 Yoga Teacher Training in Kalamazoo, then spent a week at Kripalu for Yoga in the Schools training. 
“I teach social and emotional learning,” she says, “and I never do it in the classroom anymore—it’s all on the mat. Kids don’t know how to interpret their feelings. Yoga gives them a way to reflect.”
Yoga’s spilled over into Sherri’s coaching duties too. Her volleyball team practices breathing. And if a practice starts falling apart, Sherri will call a “freeze” and ask a simple question: “What are you feeling right now? Give it to me in two words.”
“I want them to think deeper than, ‘I suck,’” she says. “I want them thinking about what they can control, and what they can’t.”
Her team has run off three straight seasons as undefeated conference champions.
Sherri Austin using her yoga experience with students.


“It’s a trust thing,” Sherri says of her work with kids. “We build rapport. And when they trust, they gain more.”
Your support for Kripalu creates a platform for people like Ron, Sherri, and thousands more to build trust in the world. We are grateful, and so are the school kids in Saugatuck, Michigan.


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