How Yoga Changed my Life

How Yoga Changed my Life

Finding Serenity in the Pacific: How Yoga Transformed My Boarding School Experience in Hawaii - By Finn Wirum

Reading time: 4 minutes

My Transformation in Hawaii

The summer before my sophomore year of high school I decided to attend a boarding school. Originally from Alaska, I desired to move to a place with a tranquil environment similar to what I grew up in. Most boarding schools were located in big cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle but my family and I found a school hidden in the mountains of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Less than a month later I arrived at the school with all of my belongings in two suitcases and was greeted by a very extroverted roommate from Berlin. Throughout the following few months, I came across many challenges that occurred with boarding schools such as the hardship of not being able to leave campus while balancing competitive swimming with the vast amount of school work due every day. On the outside, I was doing great, but internally my energy was diminishing fast.

One day my photography teacher, a body surfing guru, who never fails to converse, mentioned how he was planning to attend a yoga class that upcoming Sunday. Immediately I shot back stating “I’ll see you there!” in my normal sarcastic manner, but deep down I truly did want to attend the yoga class.

Whether it be to escape the confines of the school or see the surprised look on my teacher's face when I showed up at the studio, I wanted to go to the class for seemingly every reason except for yoga. To make this yoga day trip a reality, I had to be signed out by a day student.

Being the socialite I am, I had the option of all three of my day student friends to sign me out. The first two failed, but finally, leaning into the possibility of athletic benefits I convinced my endurance athlete fanatic friend to sign me out.

The First Yoga Class

My friend and I arrived at the yoga studio and immediately got the urge to take pictures for our Instagram due to the yogi aesthetic. After our photoshoot on the outside of the studio, we walked in and gave our photography teacher the scare of a lifetime.

The surprised look on my teacher's face combined with our aesthetic Instagram photoshoot already made the trip to the yoga studio a victorious one, anything else was just a cherry on top. We grabbed our mats and since we were the last to show up, set our mats down at the front of the studio.

The yoga instructor—Bobby—greeted us and began the class. Throughout the following 75 minutes, Bobby entranced me in a state of calm that I had never experienced. This was while he demonstrated a fusion of movements done with graceful fluidity.

The class finished with Savasana and as soon as Bobby gave the command to open our eyes, I was searching for a way to book my next class; I was hooked. I felt a change in all walks of life.

Academically, I was better able to focus. Before going to yoga, I would have a hard time focusing during tests and reading prompts during timed essays; after participating in yoga, I was finally able to stay calm during high-stress moments partially because I barely felt stressed anymore. Socially I adopted an almost carefree attitude that helped me garner more confidence which led to more friendships among classmates.

Yoga and Beyond

I am now halfway through my junior year of high school and my love of yoga is evident. Not only have I been escaping school by going to yoga every weekend, but I have experimented with other practices such as sound baths and even discovering other spiritual practices.

My family back home is not religious which gives me the privilege to research and learn about different religions and spirituality in my own time. Although yoga is common in many different religions, I gravitated towards Hinduism.

The idea of a path toward enlightenment resonated with me and my journey with yoga. Throughout this year I started and finished the Bhagavad Gita and even got inspired to start a club based on analyzing scriptures. Supported by that reason, yoga has changed my life in almost every way. Little things like sleeping more at night and being able to focus in the classroom to big things like my social media feed going from memes to Sadh guru reels.

In all seriousness, yoga has benefited my mental health to my physical health. It has been the key to my success in boarding school and future accomplishments

I encourage anyone seeking a calm mind and greater clarity to give Yoga a try.


Finn Wirum

I am a Junior in High School who discovered Yoga while attending a boarding school.