Breathing for Success: How House of Yoga and United Way Are Transforming Middle School PE

At A.C. Reynolds Middle School, an exciting partnership has taken root, bringing a unique blend of mindfulness and physical education to the students. House of Yoga, a local non-profit and recent partner of United for Youth, has answered the call to support our schools in an innovative way. Once a week, through "Mindful Mondays," in all PE classes, they are helping 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students connect their minds, bodies, and breath in a transformative experience.


Joe Falco, the CEO from House of Yoga, shared the inspiration behind their involvement. “We heard the high schools were dealing with a crisis last year and a lot of people in my network are parents, teachers, or counselors. When they heard what we were doing they said they wanted us to work with kids. There was a sense of urgency about it.” This urgency has led to a meaningful collaboration, one that aligns perfectly with the needs identified by our local Community Schools and facilitated through the efforts of Community School Coordinators, implemented by United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County (UWABC).

House of Yoga's mission is clear and impactful. “Our biggest thing is that we believe that teaching kids to breathe is as important as teaching kids to read. Knowing how to breathe through moments in life is really important,” said Joe.

This belief is reflected in their program, which spans six classes every week, each led by trained volunteer teachers. The structure of each class begins with mindfulness principles, transitions to movement to help students feel their bodies, and concludes with meditation.

The response from students and staff at A.C. Reynolds Middle School has been overwhelmingly positive. Adrian Clark, a Physical Education teacher, noted, “I think it's been a good space for them to challenge silence and stillness because they are not used to that. I think it’s useful for them to learn this skill to practice in other spaces, not just here [the gym].” Heather Conley, another PE teacher, added, “It’s nice to have it during 8th grade because they are all stressed about transitioning from 8th to 9th and they are getting all that real life stress-related information. I think they are grateful to lay there and not do a thing, and be away from electronic devices and not have access to immediate information. They have to rely on themselves.”

This initiative is not just about physical education; it’s about equipping students with lifelong skills. “It’s a mind-oriented process that focuses on the body. So we are trying to get kids into their bodies so they know what they are feeling and they can learn to manage what they are feeling through breathing,” explained Joe. The teachers have seen firsthand the benefits of this approach. “Really powerful to see kids come in so rowdy and then move to this place that is so calm,” Joe reflected.



House of Yoga's dedication is unwavering. “We’re in for the long haul,” Joe affirmed. This long-term commitment is crucial for creating lasting change in the lives of students. The consistency and reliability of the instructors have also been praised. Heather mentioned, “They are very reliable. Every instructor is different, and awesome and good with kids but it's consistent.” Adrian echoed this sentiment, “The instructors do great with feedback and they take that and incorporate it.”

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County has been instrumental in facilitating this partnership. “United Way really created that avenue for us to get into the school and Carrie [Reynolds Community School Coordinator] connected us to the PE teachers,” Joe acknowledged. This partnership exemplifies the amazing work that United for Youth partners are doing to achieve the Bold Community Goal of supporting students in holistic and meaningful ways.


Moreover, the impact of House of Yoga extends beyond the walls of Reynolds Middle School. As a partner of United for Youth, they are dedicated to supporting students throughout the Asheville-Buncombe area. This commitment to holistic student well-being aligns with the broader strategies of the UWABC, which includes the implementation of School-Based Health Centers providing both physical and mental health services.

As we look to the future, the seeds planted by House of Yoga will continue to grow. “We’re planting seeds for future doers,” Adrian emphasized. This partnership not only enriches the students’ educational experience but also prepares them for the challenges of life beyond school.


House of Yoga’s involvement is a shining example of how community collaboration can create powerful change. Their work at A.C. Reynolds Middle School is not just about teaching yoga; it’s about nurturing resilience, mindfulness, and well-being in the next generation. Through the support of UWABC and the dedication of organizations like House of Yoga, we are building a stronger, more supportive community for all our students.




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