By Teachers, For Teachers
Scientific evidence is mounting daily on the benefits that yoga has for your body, mind, and spirit.
As a result, its prevalence within the K-12 space has been gaining steam over the past decade—touting the notion that yoga in the classroom can maximize the learning process, as well as develop a child’s affinity for health and wellness. Here we will take a look at this hip, health craze in depth and why you may want to implement this practice into your classroom today.
Much like the more common school-bred campaigns like anti-bullying and character education, health and wellness efforts (like yoga) join the fray to help educate a child’s body and mind. Administrators and teachers alike are slowly beginning to jump on the bandwagon because of their scientifically proven benefits:
An overwhelming amount of research has shown that children who practice yoga generally engage in more exercise, choose healthier foods to eat, learn more easily, have better social skills and are just happier than those who refrain.
Besides the amazing benefits that are listed above, here are a few more reasons that may sway you to bring yoga into your classroom:
Character education is exactly what it sounds like—an effort to bolster the character of our young students, some of which include responsibility, honesty, integrity, respect and kindness. Tangentially, qualities like self-discipline, goal-setting, perseverance, honesty, non-violence and kindness are reinforced. All of these virtues also exist in practicing yoga.
Yoga is a collaborative, non-competitive environment where children (and adults alike) cheer on one another. As a result, this unique combination of mind and body exercise is a great way for children to raise their self-confidence and improve self-esteem.
Yoga has great benefits for children with special needs such as Autism and Cerebral Palsy, as well as students with learning disabilities like ADHD. Some poses actually work to improve and strengthen muscles while yoga breathing helps increase lung function. It also teaches kids how to train their mind for relaxation and focus, which is not only a wonderful tool to help any emotional or physical needs, but an essential one for a child with ADHD.
Similar to helping with relaxation and focus, practicing yoga in the classroom is a great way for students to develop the skills that are needed to manage stress and improve their concentration—a handy set of proficiencies when it comes time for standardized testing or end of year exams.
The main goal of practicing yoga in the classroom is to give each and every child the tools to have a healthy body and mind. With practice, children of all grade levels can benefit from the many things that yoga has to offer.
Do you practice yoga in your classroom? How do you feel about yoga in a school setting? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your opinion!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.