Physical education teacher Krista Romance brings yoga to students


In this photo, Romance is doing the pose Vrikshasana or better known as the Tree Pose. One benefit of the Tree Pose is strengthens legs and opens hips.

Izzy Cooley

Physical education teacher Krista Romance has found a way to share what she loves with Streetsboro High School.

As a P.E. teacher, Romance obviously values physical fitness, but this year she has incorporated a part of her curriculum into her own personal daily routine. 

Romance said wanting to share her passion with others motivated her to pursue a yoga instructor certification. “I originally got certified in yoga just so that I could teach it,” she said. 

She has always had an interest in yoga, though she started getting more into it three years ago, she said. Ever since then, yoga has “changed her life.” 

Her initial goal was to do yoga a couple of times a week for the mental benefits and to improve her flexibility. “I am significantly more flexible but you do not need to be flexible to start yoga,” she said. 

Her next goal was to be able to do a headstand by the end of her training, which she has accomplished. 

Along with flexibility, Romance said she has found an increase in endurance and muscle strength, specifically in her upper body and core. 

She is now able to do arm balances and, specifically, what is called the crow pose. 

Romance has also been working on headstands, handstands and forearm stands. “I still sometimes use a wall to help me but I can successfully do a tripod headstand and a pike headstand,” she said.

Romance added that she was also able to hold “a handstand without the wall for the first time a couple weeks ago.” 

The challenges in this yoga journey have been more than just physical, though. Toward the end of her certification process last spring, the school and state went into lockdown due to COVID-19 and Romance’s classes went virtual.  

“It was crazy,” she recalled. “The certification process involved a 200-hour yoga teacher training course where we learned about the history, anatomy and subtle anatomy of yoga.”

Some requirements for Romance’s certification were: 60 hours of classes at her studio, an hour-long recording of a yoga sequence, observing and assisting a class at her studio and others that proved more challenging during the pandemic. 

But then she got an idea.

With her yoga classes and school both now virtual, Romance decided to start an online yoga program for the high school staff. She offered hour-long, strength-building classes virtually  on Fridays in the summer. 

While she taught her students and the teachers daily throughout the week, her certification classes were in the evenings and on weekends. “It worked out well because I was able to practice teaching my sequence with the teachers during that time, so I kind of was able to interlace the two,” Romance said. 

As school resumed in the fall, Romance offered in-person classes for the staff after school most Thursdays. 

Now that everything is remote again, so are the yoga classes.

Guidance counselor Ira Campbell has participated in Romance’s yoga program. 

“She just brings so much positive energy and is very caring,” he said.

English teacher Maria Judd has also joined some of Romance’s classes. “She is always happy to do yoga with us when she can,” Judd said.

Math teacher Helen DeLorenzo said, “She is outgoing, friendly and always ready to go out of her way to help both students and staff.”

Campbell joined several classes during quarantine and has also participated in person since school re-started. 

Doing yoga during lockdown helped him “get centered and relieve stress,” Campbell said.

He said he has come a long way since he started and has made progress. “Things have definitely become easier.”

Judd started doing yoga three years ago while looking for an exercise that would be good for her. Yoga happened to be the perfect thing. She said it has been very beneficial to stay flexible in her “old age.”

This pose performed by Romance is Salamba Shirshasana, often shortened to Shirshasana, or Yoga Headstand. One benefit of the Yoga Headstand is it improves blood circulation.

 “When I don’t do yoga I get pretty stiff and start to lose my strength.”

Judd belongs to a yoga studio and does online classes with them frequently. 

She said Romance teaches yoga like her instructor. “At first she did some hard moves; now she knows our abilities and has adjusted her teaching style to our level,” Judd said.

DeLorenzo has also been doing yoga for about four years. She said it helped her “take a break from my busy schedule and take a moment to breathe and find focus.”

She said she can tell Romance spends a lot of time preparing the classes by the way she teaches. “Her yoga sequences are well thought out and she executes them smoothly.”

DeLorenzo has a certification herself. She’s been teaching Barre at Pure Barre in Hudson for two years. Barre is a mix of yoga, pilates, and ballet, she explained.

She said that teaching and preparing her classes takes a lot of time and effort and was a little tricky at first, but with time, it got easier. 

Romance said she loves what she does and would consider teaching at a studio. “There are so many benefits and it is really a joy of mine to see people find that understanding through their own practice.”