There are many stereotypes and clichés that surround the practice of yoga. Many people have not been able to explore the benefits of yoga because of these stereotypes, but lately, it has grown into a mainstream activity and the stereotypes that have existed for years are slowly fading. However, not many have ever thought about yoga in schools and how this could impact the performance of both teachers and students.
Here are some of the ways yoga in the classroom can leave a positive impact on the lives of students, teachers and families.
Enhances mind-body awareness
When students are trained to pay attention, they are able to grow the relationship between their bodies and minds. Therefore, school-based yoga is one of the ways students can benefit from the development of mind-body awareness. Also referred to as mindfulness, this awareness can impact the behavior of students in many ways. For example, when you encourage your students to undertake a 5 minutes breathing exercise that help to relax their tight stomachs instead of going for some chips, it helps them develop a behavior that largely improves their choices in life.
According to preliminary studies, it was noted that of children between the ages of 8 and 15 who completed a yoga program at school, four children’s low self-esteem improved, and there was an average weight loss of 2kg among all students. This led to the conclusion that classroom yoga is beneficial to students not only for improvement to mental functioning (like attention), but it also has an impact on their overall physical well-being.
Cultivates physical fitness
There is also a difference between yoga and mindfulness meditation, and this is the fact that yoga is also about doing physical postures. Essentially, yoga includes both mindfulness and motion. Ogden CL, Flegal KM, Kit BK, and Caroll MD (2012) conducted a study to measure the prevalence of obesity among adolescents in the U.S.. From their findings, they drew the conclusion that American children tend to get more obese over time (a period of 12 years to be exact).
Satya Prakash Purohit conducted research to establish how yoga impacts physical fitness among adolescents and the findings were that one of the benefits of yoga is it improves the respiratory function and reduces obesity risk factors. Therefore, embracing classroom yoga only serves to make the lives of the students better and this also ensures teachers have easy time while dealing with their students because they are healthier and more attentive.
Supports positive classroom climate and enhances teacher resilience
In addition to providing room for improvement in the cognitive ability among students, classroom yoga has also shown to help teachers. When educators are provided with yoga training focused on acquiring mindfulness skills, they gain different perspectives that positively affect moods, concentration, stress and reasoning.
What this means is that teachers are assured to have the best classroom climate. And with the good mood that comes with yoga, it becomes easy to improve the development of relationships with students. The overall effect is a better learning climate, as most of the performance in learning achieved is as a result of the resilience and ability of the teacher to deeply connect with the students and create lasting relationships.
Improves performance, mental state, and student behavior
The CASEL (2015) established that social-emotional learning is a function of five core competencies: Self-management, self-awareness, relationship skills, social awareness, and responsible decision-making. The conclusion of this study suggests that all schools would benefit from having programs that help students build these competencies so they are set up to succeed both personally and academically.
Part of the solution suggested that one of the ways students build these competencies is by embracing yoga and meditation, which are known to improve self-awareness, rational decision making, and emotional management. Additionally, the findings also showed classroom yoga boosts academic achievement and classroom behavior. It may lead to different positive outcomes including reduced risk of psychological disorders, enhanced cognitive performance, and improved mood.
Flow, integration and connection
When poses are stringed together in a yoga practice, kids are given a picture of what it feels to move seamlessly. It helps improve the awareness that movements are made up of coordinated efforts between bones, muscles, nerves, and joints. Yoga helps kids to boost that sense of feeling integrated, and to understand how their body moves in space (proprioception). Improvement in these areas has shown to improve self-esteem and confidence, which translates into more empowered social skills, both at school and at home.
Putting it all together
Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent or administrator—the benefits of yoga in the classroom extend to an entire network of individuals. Classroom yoga might involve bringing in a specialized yoga teacher to work with a group of students, offering yoga as a physical activity, or bringing in a yoga teacher for after school programs. If your school is in the greater San Diego area, Pilgrimage Yoga Online would be happy to work with you to develop a program and find the right yoga teacher for your needs. Contact us today to get started by sending an email to [email protected]
SCOTT GROZA is an education expert who has been pursuing various developmental subjects that impact the performance of students and one of his latest findings reveal that yoga is an essential part of enhancing the performance of students in the classroom.