Kids use yoga to learn mythology, fight pre-test jitters

February 23, 2011 No Comments » Blog
Yoga in a small space
By Judy Fortin
DECATUR, Georgia (CNN) — Fourth-grade teacher Elisabeth Beckwith wants her students at Fernbank Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, to pay attention to a lesson on Greek mythology.

 Fourth-graders at Fernbank Elementary in Decatur, Georgia, practice the “dromedary delight.”
Instead of staring at the board in the front of the classroom, the kids are lying on the floor near their desks practicing yoga. “It’s fun,” says 9-year old Jack Besser. “It gets out the cramps after you’ve been sitting for an hour.”

Besser’s classmate Medha Prakash says the yoga drills help her to concentrate. “It makes me feel calm, relaxed and it gets all the stress out of me.”

Beckwith has linked the symbols of Greek gods to yoga poses, such as down dog and the stork. She’s hoping the students will better retain the material and be re-energized in the middle of the day. “It’s a fun way for them to think about things,” Beckwith says. “You know, it’s healthy for them because they’re getting the breathing right and getting the stretching right.”  .  .  . Read the complete story here.

[Note: Yoga is a really powerful practice that offers many benefits for kids.  I ran across this article while doing some reasearch and wanted to share.  The article does a really nice job of highlighting how yoga can be use in a classroom setting to faciliate learning and help reduce anxiety (pre-test jitters).  Plus the school is in Fernbank outside of Atlanta. They have a great museum nearby with dinosaurs and other wonderful science stuff.  I took my kids there and we had wonderful time.] 

Original Source: CNN

Pizza Pose: Using Yoga to Teach Categories

Pizza Pose

Pizza pose is one of the all-time favorite poses in our kids’ classes.  Save this pose and use it toward the end of class as a reward.

Pizza pose is ideal to teach the concept of categories.  The main category is food, but what food goes on the top of a pizza?  Do you only use toppings that are commonly used on pizza or do you open it up to other more exotic delicacies?  (Gummy bears, anyone?) You can keep it general or provide your kids with more narrow guidelines: 

“Today we’re going to make a vegetarian pizza.  (What does vegetarian mean?)  Can you name some vegetables for our pizza?”  

Consider a green pizza and name only green foods. 

For shapes, your pizza could only have round foods on it.  What foods are round?

Be creative and use your imagination.  Have fun.

 Pizza Pose Cues

1. Sit on the floor, nice and tall, with your legs in a V-shape.  Be cautious not to allow the back to round in rainbow back, it will probably be necessary to sit on a folded blanket, block or you can even use books to keep the hips elevated and spine straight (in a natural S-curve).

 2. Pretend there is a pizza in front of you.   If you sit in a circle in yoga class, the pizza will be in front of you.

 3. Everyone gets a turn to call out loud a food topping to put on the pizza, like cheese, pepperoni or peppers.

 4. This is a huge pizza, so reach out using the sides of your body and arms to stretch to put the toppings on the pizza. Try to keep your legs straight, but if you cannot, then bring your legs closer together.

“Love It List” Review of Learn With Yoga: ABC Yoga Cards for Kids

Sharon Catherine Blanks (wife of Billy Blanks Jr.) just posted a great review of the Learn With Yoga: ABC Yoga Cards for Kids for her “Love It!”” List. 

Sharon’s review provides a really nice overview of how to use the ABC Yoga Cards.  Several poses are demonstrated which shows how easy it is to get your kids moving and learning with yoga.   

 Sharon’s “Love It!” List can be found on her website

Spry Magazine Review of ABC Yoga Cards for Kids

 Spry Magazine Review of Learn With Yoga: ABC Yoga Cards for Kids

Here’s what Ashley Haugen of Spry Magazine  had to say about the Learn With Yoga: ABC Yoga Cards for Kids:

“Yoga’s all the rage, even with the youngest among us. Bring the yoga experience to the next level for the kiddos with this great flashcard series from Learn With Yoga.

Each letter of the alphabet is represented, and colorful illustrations demonstrate what each move looks like. For parents/teachers follow the verbal cues to explain how to achieve the perfect pose, and then follow up with some educational tidbits that are relevant to the letter.

For example, “A” stands for “Archer” position. Read the directions on how to achieve the pose, and continue the conversation with discussions about how “A” also stands for “aim” and “ambition.” Expand into rhyming and syllable segmentation, and you have an experience that’s both fun and educational.

My kids LOVE these cards, often asking to do more, more, more even when this mama’s too pooped to down dog one more time.  Click here to read the entire original article.