Yoga for Teachers…and Students!

I just recently decided to start a yoga regimen.  Last summer, I picked up a yoga DVD and hated it!  I couldn’t shut my mind off – it felt like a huge waste of time.  I decided to give it another try after an education professor told me that it was a “non-negotiable” that teachers practice yoga.  I’ve been at it for only a few days now, and I definitely feel a difference.  My legs feel more limber and my arms feel stronger.  More importantly (in my case), I feel more content and relaxed overall.  I’m still working on the meditation aspect of it – it is still a challenge to quiet my mind.  Many days, I have a commute out of Boston, facing a congested, stressful 45-minute drive.  In the car today, I was enjoying the sunrise, appreciating the warmth of a summer morning, and just smiling! (:  It seemed like all my favorite songs were playing on the radio.  We’ll have to see if this lasts!

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” – yoga guru BKS Iyengar

Since I’ve been enjoying yoga so much, I thought about how teachers can incorporate yoga into the classroom.  At the preschool I taught in college, we had a yoga specialist come in occasionally and do yoga with the kids (my room was 2-3 year olds, but she visited the 3-4 and 4-5 year old classes, too).  It was so much fun!  The kids loved it, even when they were falling over.  All the teachers noticed a difference in the kids on yoga day: less conflict, anxiety, and crying, and more smiles!

I’ve found a few great online resources for yoga in the classroom. The Yoga Health Foundation is promoting a Yoga Recess Day on February 28, 2014.  The Foundation provides teachers with lesson plans and videos to begin a yoga practice in their classrooms.  I think it would be fun for teachers to start a yoga regimen in their classrooms this coming school year, and practice the school-wide Yoga Recess Day!  It would be a great day to get kids active AND come together as a school community!

PopSugar Fitness has some great, fun poses for kids (like the frog, flamingo, starfish, and sandwich!).  I also found a great Huffington Post Lifestyle slideshow with some of the best yoga for anxiety poses.  I think these would be especially useful during standardized testing weeks.  For beginners, here are some poses that improve flexibility and strength.  Energizing yoga poses can help both students and teachers wake up, in the morning or during a sluggish afternoon!  And finally, the best free online yoga practice for happiness.  I’m looking forward to trying that one!

Does anyone out there have any other suggestions for yoga in the classroom?  I’d love to get more ideas and hear some experiences!

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