When you think about ways to get students moving, you might initially think about jumping, running, throwing, or any other sport-centered movement. However, most of these activities don’t engage breathing and mindfulness like yoga does. We talked with a certified children’s yoga instructor, Katrina Lien, about how yoga can help your students refresh and recharge. “Yoga brings awareness and energy to every part of the body allowing kids to feel more settled and focused for the next tasks ahead.”
Some of the other benefits include:
- Lowered stress
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased self-esteem
- Boosted focus and concentration
- Increased muscle and strength endurance
- Improved memory and emotional regulation
- Enhanced body awareness, balance, and coordination
- Encouraged awareness of mental health and overall wellness
- Increased classroom participation
Now that you know some of the benefits, you might be wondering how you can incorporate yoga in your classroom, especially if you’re not an expert. Katrina assures that “
To help you keep it simple and fun, fit has 4 free activities that serve any yoga practice no matter the skill level. Plus, each card pack comes with a set of instructions!
To introduce yoga, use the Grow Your Flow Single Pose Yoga Cards. This deck of cards has one pose per card and will help your students practice one pose at a time.
If you want to add storytelling as a fun way to engage your students, try A Trip to the Zoo: Animal Yoga Poses and Breathing Exercises. This card pack gives you word-for-word instructions so you can simultaneously tell a story and get your class moving and breathing.
Next, you can introduce the fitFlow cards. These are perfect for students who want to practice multiple poses and flow from one pose to another.
Finally, the fitFlow activity empowers students to feel confident in all their yoga flows. Just press “Let’s Flow!” and the activity will give your class a series of 4 poses with instructions and a timer. The best part of all – each time you press “Let’s Flow!” you’ll be given a different flow!
Now that you have the resources, you might be wondering when to practice yoga in your classroom, especially if time is limited. According to Katrina, “There is no wrong time to incorporate yoga in the classroom! Yoga can take as little as a few minutes like a brain break with a few poses and breathing exercises or complete a 30-minute practice for more movement before a seated activity.”
To help you get started, here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Morning Meeting Yoga: Morning meetings are the perfect way to start your class’s morning. Have kids sit in a comfortable position and introduce them to yoga. Then, introduce the pose to the class and get flowing!
- Pose of the Day: If you’re looking to continually practice yoga and help your kids with their gross motor development and increase their comfort with their bodies and breathing, introduce them to a pose of the day and practice that position throughout the day. If you’re using the Grow Your Flow Yoga Cards, you can display the pose’s card on the whiteboard or anywhere else where kids can easily look throughout the day. Making the visual easily accessible will allow kids to practice the pose whenever they’d like, and you can reference the card to call out the pose and practice as a class throughout the day.
- Brain Breaks: Your class needs a brain break throughout the day and having your class pause to do some yoga, even if it’s one pose, can increase their focus and memory.
- Transition Time: After a high-energy activity such as lunch or recess, yoga can be a great calming practice and a way to remind them to stay mindful as they prepare to engage in the next part of their day.
- Cozy Spot Time: If one of your students needs to take time to decompress, empower them to do some yoga independently. Keep laminated Grow Your Flow or fitFlow cards in a binder as part of your cozy corner for them to look through and pick a pose they’d like to practice while calming themselves down.
No matter how you incorporate yoga in your classroom, always remember to practice encouragement and positivity - there is no perfect way to practice yoga. The goal is accomplished as long as students are moving and having a positive experience!
If you’re looking to incorporate yoga in a different setting, check out our article on Practicing Yoga at Home here.
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