One breath at a time

BVH Senior teaches weekly yoga classes


Luis Suarez

Senior Sydney Belyk performs a yoga position while her students follow her lead during her “Gentle Flow” class. Belyk works as a yoga instructor at Hapa Yoga Studios in Eastlake, Chula Vista.

Luis Suarez and Jaylen Gladney

Sydney Belyk is graduating earlier than most seniors from the Bonita Vista High (BVH) Learning Center as part of the class of 2020. Senior Belyk began instructing yoga classes in Eastlake, Chula Vista with the help of Hapa Yoga Fitness Studios where she has been hired and plans to continue teaching in college. 

Belyk started doing yoga as a coping mechanism for her anxiety, and states that it has significantly impacted her life.

“I started doing yoga because it helped my anxiety a lot and then it got kind of expensive. So I started doing ‘yoga for trade,’ which is where the Hapa Yoga Studio gives you free unlimited yoga for working a three-hour shift every week,” Belyk said.

Time management became a challenge for Belyk as she underwent training for her yoga course, though she believes that she found balance between school and training.

“When I came to BVH regularly for the first two days of senior year, I couldn’t handle it. I ended up going to the Learning Center. And while I was at the Learning Center I was also doing the yoga teacher training program,” Belyk said. “[Going to the] Learning Center definitely helped me with my time management and the flexibility that was required [for yoga training].”

Prior to instructing yoga, Belyk dabbled in different trades such as physical care, a skill that she credits to leading her towards a yoga career. 

“I did healthcare and then eventually I was there so much that I wanted to start teaching so I did the teacher training and now that’s what I’m doing,” Belyk said.


As a child, Belyk was ambitious with activities that pushed her to keep herself healthy and happy. She participated in gymnastics, which drove her to become a yoga instructor.

“Looking back at it, I did gymnastics, cheer and dance, and that incorporated a lot of things like stretching—I’ve always been into health. That [is] a lot of what goes into yoga,” Belyk said.

As a teacher, Belyk currently instructs the ‘Gentle Flow’ course every Thursday at 5 p.m. Belyk must come up with various lesson plans to make sure her class plans do not get repetitive. According to the official Hapa Yoga website, Belyk also has the freedom to teach a variety of yoga styles such as Prenatal Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga.

Longtime friend and senior Rio Herrera has attended one of Belyk’s classes, and states the class has different techniques to soothe and relax the participants.

“Sydney teaches us or she goes through with us different poses and breathing exercises,” Herrera said. “And she plays music for us as well as gives us oils, but it’s just to soothe and help us de-stress.” 

On top of her positive perspective on Belyk’s class, Herrera also believes that Belyk is a good instructor for the course that she teaches as she helps soothe her students with various activities.

“After class, I definitely feel less stressed out and just really relaxed. If you’re upset about something or stressed out about something, you definitely feel less of that,” Herrera said.

BVH alumnus, friend of Belyk and 3-year Hapa Yoga member Mellisa Zamudio feels a sense of euphoria when she attends Belyk’s yoga classes.

“Sydney’s yoga classes are very heartfelt and soulful. She gives it her all during every session; you can feel the love and passion she has for yoga. She creates a safe and encompassing environment while sharing wisdom. Her classes probe reflection and spark inspiration,” Zamudio said.

Zamudio believes there is potential in Belyk as a yoga instructor. She expresses that Belyk is a loving person and has a lot to learn and teach in her years to come.

“There is so much more to Sydney than meets the eye. She is full of wisdom, love and has a lot to give to this world. This is just the beginning for her. Sydney is full of potential and I know she will be going to very high places with her yoga career. Sydney is a light that will help guide many,” Zamudio said.

Belyk will be attending college after she graduates from BVH and plans to continue her ambitions as a yoga instructor. 

“I definitely want to continue teaching yoga. I still plan on going to college and studying environmental science [while] teaching [yoga] and [incorporating] the two together,” Belyk said.

Belyk believes that yoga can help people and it affected her in a way that people in her life have noticed. Yoga has impacted people Belyk works with as well, Belyk explained.

“It’s honestly changed my life, greatly. Many people have told me since I finished school and started doing yoga [that]I’ve become a completely different person and I can see it myself. But also I can see that [people I do yoga with] are more, almost like fulfilled, it’s like [a] type of therapy for some people; it just changes some people for the better,” Belyk said.