Yoga in the Classroom

Kids love yoga- especially outside! Photo cred: https://www.flickr.com/photos/creativedc/3438229871/

Kids love yoga- especially outside! Photo cred

Its December- a crazy time of year at every school I’ve ever worked at. This year I am thinking more and more about how I would love to incorporate yoga into my classroom. Yoga helps to calm and focus me, so why shouldn’t it work with my students?

In just about every school I’ve worked at, I’ve managed to teach a couple poses (Tree pose and Cobbler’s pose come to mind), but I’ve always introduced it during playtime or as time fillers. What if I learned to teach yoga actively as a daily part of class time, perhaps as a daily ritual to focus and begin each school day right or after lunch recess to calm the students down? Would students learn to calm themselves? Would they learn to be more mindful of their feelings and the feelings of others?

This year I’m teaching third grade and my students seem so mature and hardworking- most of the time. The only thing I’ve taught them regarding yoga is deep breathing exercises they can use when they need to calm themselves and be a little extra patient with one another. Because of their maturity I wonder if they would take yoga seriously enough to actually learn and grow from a daily practice.

Is there any research available to support the idea that yoga might help my students become better learners?

Some findings listed online at Yoga Calm include: better behavior, higher GPA, better work habits, more cooperation, and concentration.

http://www.mindfulexperience.org/evidence-base.php

http://k-12yoga.org/resources.php Tons of data resources here!

This got me thinking. Is there a course I can take where I can learn the answers to these questions? I wonder if I could convince my school to let me count it as PD?

Portland State University allows teachers to earn 5 grad credits for these Yoga Calm courses (meaning I can easily claim it for PD in Oregon!) $950 for 5 courses +$300 for the grad credits. Can be done online!

KarmaKids– They even provide a course via Skype so those of us overseas can take the course! $450USD

http://globalfamilyyoga.com/childrens_yoga_specialty_certification/ In the US only

http://www.powermoveskids.com/ $99 for one teacher, $450 program for a whole school

Some stuff I am looking into trying meanwhile:

Apps:

I AM LOVE: Kids’ Yoga Journey

Kids Yogaverse: I AM SUN, I AM MOON 

Books:

The ABCs of Yoga for kids

Sophia’s Jungle Adventure (I’m most likely going to get the Kindle version of this and use my classroom AppleTV to project it onto the whiteboard)

Luke’s Beach Day 

In my class we talk about ways we can calm down and deal with anger in appropriate ways. This book might be a fun way of introducing meditation as an option.

Games:

The Magic Path of Yoga would be a great thing to play during indoor recess!

Yoga activity card deck 

Yoga Pretzels card deck 

Share your thoughts! Have you ever incorporated yoga or other mindfulness activities (like meditation) into your classroom? How did it go? A lot of the stuff I see online is for kids pre-k through 3rd, have you ever done yoga activities with older kids? Have you ever done professional development with yoga as the topic? Other thoughts and/or resources you would like to share?

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3 responses to “Yoga in the Classroom

  1. Yoga is great for mind and body and kids seem to love it. Most of them are flexible while their bones develop so it’s only natural. Have fun and teach them some down dogs. BTW: The picture seems funny to me since the girl is doing yoga in jeans and a parka and I’m sure it’s not that cold

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