By Sarah Scribner
Back-to-school season can be a stressful time of year for parents. It can even be more angst-ridden for teachers, who prepare for a new year, new children, new academic material, and more.
Although there are many ways to relieve stress, yoga is a great way for teachers to reduce their own anxiety levels, as well as that of the kids in their classrooms. Take a look at how daily yoga practice can help you and your students:
Yoga relieves stress. Today, school days are long and too often, students of all ages feel tired and restless. Yoga can prove to be a great antidote to daytime fatigue as it can can help relieve tension quickly and offer an energy infusion. Also, as students don’t always have the tools to manage stress during the school day, yoga can be particularly beneficial when it comes to elevating moods and calming nerves.
And, the earlier students learn to incorporate yoga into their lives, the better off they’ll be. In fact, when teachers introduce yoga to young students, they have the opportunity to provide them with useful, effective coping methods that can lead to improved classroom interaction and performance.
According to Teens Health, yoga targets the three areas most often affected by stress: our body, mind, and breath. Many poses in yoga relieve tension throughout the body, including the neck, shoulders, and back. Physically loosening these muscles creates a greater sense of calm throughout the body - and this is heightened by an emphasis on slow, deep breathing. Luckily, there are plenty of poses and even seated stretches that can be done anywhere - even in a classroom.
Yoga improves concentration. Researches have concluded that yoga sharpens the mind and just 20 minutes of practice per day can boost brain power. Neha Gothe, professor of kinesiology, health and sports studies at Wayne State University, found that people who participated in experimental 20-minute yoga sessions “were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout.”
If students are able to retain information more quickly and easily, then it makes sense that they'll have a heightened ability to expand upon their knowledge in subjects ranging from literature to history, science to math.
Yoga is FUN! When introducing yoga into a classroom setting, we encourage you to get creative as this will help you engage students. Here at Pretzel Kids we often mix traditional yoga poses with themed postures that kids can relate to. For example, chair and warrior poses can be transformed into summer themed poses like lifeguard and surfer. This gives children - particularly those ages 3-12 - the opportunity to use their imaginations while reaping the physical and mental benefits of yoga. Of course, they are having fun while learning.
The next time you’re trying to engage your students and create a fun classroom setting, consider introducing yoga! Take a look at the Pretzel Kids blog for fun inspiration and consider embarking on your own yoga education. The children will thank you!
*Interested in teaching kids yoga? We're offering a special 30% discount on our online course for all classroom teachers through the end of October, 2017! Learn more about our online course and start teaching tomorrow! Or, enroll in our upcoming weekend training course at Maha Yoga Center in Bridgewater, Ma. on November 11 and 12, 2017. We can’t wait for you to start your kids yoga journey!
Sarah Scribner is a content writer and social media intern at Pretzel Kids