These days, most school teachers aren't even aware of the alternative activities they could be bringing into the classroom--namely, yoga for children. The proven benefits of yoga in the classroom are significant, and more benefits are being realized everyday. Yoga in the classroom has been a blessing for many educators who've decided they need some new ways to help kids get focused, relaxed, and ready to learn. Not to mention, yoga teaches young people the importance of physical exercise and breathing properly. As a school teacher who has taught first and second grade, I've discovered that all of my students look forward to the times we set aside for yoga in the classroom. I try not to get them involved in lengthy, complicated poses, but rather, I like to just demonstrate some simple breathing techniques and energizing movements.
At an appropriate time each day, I might ask the children to quietly rise from their desks, stand with straight backs, and bring one leg up so that their foot is resting on the opposite thigh. "Pretend like you're a big oak tree," I tell them. "Now raise your arms high in the sky. Your arms are your branches swaying in the breeze." After a few moments of doing the tree pose, the kids are, more often than not, calm, refreshed and poised for their lessons. This particular exercise is great for a little "after lunch" yoga in the classroom, especially at a time when it's most difficult to get students calmed down and focused on what's next.
I use yoga to guide my students in a number of ways. Because of its many benefits, you wouldn't believe how much it can help out both at home and at school--it decreases hyperactivity, helps students regain focus, lowers test-time anxiety, builds character and confidence, supports a healthy lifestyle, and finally, supports a readiness and willingness to learn. I don't doubt that many educators would welcome such a tool in their classroom, not merely to facilitate the learning process, but to aid in the teaching process as well. I don't just practice yoga in the classroom for the benefit of my students--I do it for me, too. In my personal practice, I've gained a calmness of mind and spirit, a sense of harmony with the world around me, and of course, an increase in strength, endurance and flexibility. Knowing that I am passing these very benefits along to my kids is unbelievably gratifying.
That little bit of yoga in the classroom that we practice every single day is so important to my kids, that when I'm out for the day, I leave a kids yoga dvd for the substitute teacher, so they don't have to miss out. You see, for many children, the only physical activity they ever get is at school. Lots of parents just let their kids rot in front of the TV, without encouraging them to play outside or engaging them in a healthy activity at home. That being said, it's my mission to allow time each day for yoga for children, just so they're getting the opportunity to learn something they can hopefully take home with them.
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Written by Kacy Suther. Learn more about yoga for children with a kids yoga dvd. Offers yoga in the classroom, yoga poses for kids, more at yogakids.com .
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