When most people think of yoga they picture the gym, but the benefits of yoga go beyond health and fitness. For most, just the thought of working out just makes them tired. It’s the end of a long work day and you’re not always up for putting the time in for yourself. It becomes one more thing to add to the “to-do list.” One more “chore” in your daily routine. We have a hard time opening our minds to the opportunities and benefits outside of staying fit that yoga offers. This not only goes for adults but children as well.
All around the world kids are dealing with similar struggles in school as well as outside. They deal with social-emotional situations at home and in school daily. By introducing yoga to students as well as teachers, we can focus on educating the whole child, mind, body and spirit.
By blending yoga into the classroom for even just five minutes, students are provided with healthy ways to express and balance their emotions. They become more relaxed and comfortable which puts them into the present moment and encourages community within the class. Their focus is enhanced allowing them to concentrate, comprehend and recall more readily. This boost of organisational and communication skills can make a significant difference in their school day.
I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Well, I’m not certified to teach yoga.” Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be. There are plenty of programmes right at our fingertips that can help integrate yoga movement into the classroom environment. By incorporating movement into lessons, kids are able to create deeper associations with the content being taught.
Other recognised benefits include:
Midline crossing motions (Motor development on both sides)
Strong and flexible bodies
Body awareness and coordination
Posture and alignment
Improves digestion, circulation and immune system
Relaxes the body and promotes better sleep
Auditory processing and responsiveness
Expands imagination and creativity
Ability to be less reactive and more mindful of thoughts and actions
Builds confidence and self-esteem
Supports character development and emotional intelligence
Supports discipline and self-control
Develops individuality and self-expression
Inspires respect for self and others
One organisation in which we’ve found a valuable resource is YogaKids- Tools for School - Yoga for Educators. Another free phone app is Smiling Minds. This provides short five minute meditations easy to follow along for all age groups.
When trying to improve the school experience to the best of our ability, why not try something new?