After I was asked to present to faculty about the benefits of bringing Yoga in the classroom, mainly wanting me to discuss the benefits for children who would use yoga instead of a consequence such as detention, I thought a lot. I couldn’t stop thinking.
Yoga-there are so many benefits! So I had to focus, I had to focus on one important aspect that I believed in, to be powerful enough to allow faculty to be inspired. To say the least, it was the teachers last day with the kids at school before their break! This was going to be challenging. What a treat they were in for! As I hoped.
While I thought about the importance of bringing Yoga in the classroom I could not help but to think how wonderful it would have been to have this necessity while I was going to school. At the time I was going to school, we weren’t exposed to half of what children are exposed to now. While I was in school I was not as nearly, NEARLY exposed to electronics, such as cell phones, apple TV, vapors etc. The list goes on. Which tells me, that there is a high demand and NEED to bring Yoga not only just in the classroom but in the school, as a whole.
As I continued to think about this topic I realized that the one thing WE all have in common is that we are all being stimulated on a constant and daily basis 24/7. Not only are children constantly stimulated, we as adults are as well too. Our society is in a constant rush, we are always ON, & we can instantly get what we want right at our finger tips. One thing WE do not have in common is our brain. The first 12 years are the prime time of development, the most important stage of development of their lives. Constant stimulation will affect ones intellect, emotions and behaviors. We all see it, children having difficulty 1) focusing, 2) concentrating and 3) communicating at an increased rate. These three areas, which I focused on, that are being hindered by constant stimulation, these three aspects of the self are the core to healthy decision-making, developing healthy relationships & the ability to absorb information, to learn. The three very important essentials to succeed. Teachers are leaders of our future. Teachers are here to help children learn, be successful so they can contribute to their community, to society. That’s a big responsibility. Teaching has become even more challenging however, & this is just ONE aspect, that hinders our children- being stimulated on a constant basis.
We see an increase of acting out behaviors, impulsivity, self-harm, substance use/abuse, bullying etc. What do we do? I say we need to meet our children where they are in society, to understand. If WE don’t slow down as a whole, we will never be where we want to be as a whole. Not only does bringing Yoga in the school help the children, it helps the teachers. It’s a win-win.
Yoga scientifically increases a sense of gratitude, oneness, compassion, empathy, emotion regulation and stress tolerance, PLUS all the areas of hindrances I mentioned above; focus, concentration and healthy affective ways to communicate. Important skills are developed and strengthened to allow children to better manage and cope with everyday stressors, learning the importance of speaking kindly to oneself and to others, increases ones ability to take tests affectively and consciously etc. Teachers then have the ability to use their leadership skills, to be creative and bring Yoga into their classroom, in their school any way they see fit. Areas they may see as lacking and needing more attention to.
As one example, using Yoga during classroom time allows teachers to let go of just using the traditional way of teaching, sitting at the desk. Integrating Yoga during classroom time allows students (and teachers) to take short breaks, to standup, to reenergize, to refocus. Such as flowing into a balancing pose (these poses assist in learning how to regulate emotions, stress tolerance, increases focus and concentration) helps them then come back to what’s being taught at hand. All of these positives-equals positive outcomes, happier students, happier teachers.
After the discussion, a short breathing exercise and guided meditation with the faculty, I had many teachers brainstorming ways they can start to integrate simple breathing and meditation exercises into the school. An example was when the children get off the bus; they have a short time frame before they head to their classroom. They discussed the possibility of projecting a video of a meditation on a screen for all the children to watch and participate in right before heading to their classrooms. Simple yet profound!
A few questions to ask yourself-
1) What would you see different if the power of Yoga was brought into your school?
2) How can you start bringing Yoga in your school?