Yoga is not only great exercise for the body physically. It is also a wonderful way to relax the mind and body, helping to improve children’s reception for learning and speech. Yoga is increasingly being recognized and popularized for its health benefits, but is less known for its significant benefits for mental health, learning and cognitive benefits. Yogic uplifts our mood, reinforces natural kinetic learning, brings clarity to make better decisions, and increases language reception and retention. This combination of health and wellness benefits make yoga the perfect addition to the classroom curriculum.
If you are a teacher who would like to introduce yoga to the classroom, here are 5 easy tips to get started.
- Get your students moving and talking while they are moving. The body needs to move, and when the body is moving, you’ll observe how your students increase their focus and reception for learning.
- Read the energy of your students and react based on how they respond. As you practice different yoga moves and breathing exercises you will get a better sense of which ones your students most enjoy depending on their energy and mood levels, day to day.
- Focus on breathing. Get your students focused on simply inhaling and exhaling, concentrating on each breath. Teach them that they can use breathing exercises, anywhere, anytime, to regain focus and decrease stress and negative emotions.
- Connect breath with movement. One yoga technique that is great for connecting breath with movement is called Ocean Breath. Stand tall on both feet. Raise the arms high over the head so that the fingers are pointing to the sky. Inhale deeply through the nose and then powerfully exhale through the mouth, and lower the arms. Repeat for one minute. This is called ocean breath because the breathing sounds like the sounds of the ocean. Try this simple, yet powerful, technique with your students before a therapy session or class and observe their changes.
- Make sure that you are paying attention to the alignment of your students’ bodies as they practice different yoga poses. Feet should be parallel, the knees in line with the second toe, hips pointed forward and shoulders over the hips.
What’s the scoop from the Daily Spark on Yoga for Small Spaces? They say that: “Yoga is great for loosening up the body after a hours spent sitting at a desk, in a car, or on a plane. I have been known to stretch in cars, on trains, at my desk, and even in line at the supermarket. These poses are great for beginners, and the illustrations are fun and helpful for newbies.”