Yoga In Schools
“Yoga is the journey of the self, though the self, to the self”
The Bhagavad Gita
Many pupils are now being taught yoga as a way of helping support their physical health and mental health.
Schools up and down the country are catching on to teaching yoga recognising it as having a number of positive effects on children’s health, behaviour and performance.
Resilience, empathy, health and wellbeing, are all common themes in schools today, all focusing on teaching the whole child. Yoga innately supports this learning connecting ‘wellness’ by uniting mind, body and soul.
Covid-19 has increased the burden on mental health and so yoga is a positive intervention to help young people cope.
Research evidence on school-based yoga, meditation and mindfulness lessons is unequivocally positive as it:
- Provides children with healthy ways to express, balance, and control their emotions and behaviour.
- Enhances flexibility, strength, and physical well-being
- Encourages a more tranquil, contented state of being
- Improves focus, creativity, comprehension and memory
- Has a positive impact on academic performance
- Helps children manage stress and anxiety
- Brings children into the present moment
- Shrinks anger, unhappiness, and fatigue
- Prompts reflection, patience and insight
- Supports social and emotional intelligence
- Improves mind/body awareness and self-awareness
- Acts as an intervention for ADHD
- Enhances resilience and coping strategies
- It promotes balance
- Increases confidence, self-esteem and self-expression
- Builds a respect for self and others
- Creates a calm, harmonious classroom
- Combat stress in the new normal of Covid-19
- Improves cognitive function
- Enhances educational achievements
The amazing benefits of yoga are multifarious and extend well beyond these returns.
A comprehensive list would stretch to India and back again but for school settings the message is clear: Yoga works wonders.
It has also proven to help pupils on the autistic spectrum helping them with their social skills and coping techniques facilitating self-regulation and providing sensory integration.
A key strength of yoga is that it is non-competitive and so enables a group of children to be together without having to be first or the best.
Yoga naturally sits somewhere between RE and PSHE and allows children to get in touch with themselves on a spiritual level even if they don’t follow a particular religion. However, not everyone agrees with it’s link to Eastern religions.
But it can also be effortlessly integrated into the school day across the curriculum and lends itself well to PE, science, and literacy.
Why not use yoga with children 3-11 years and combine it with imaginative story telling? For example see Cosmic Kids Yoga for more details at www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
Whilst some teachers ‘have a go’ at teaching yoga themselves, trained Yoga professionals are recommended.
There are lots of providers of classes for children who also offer teacher training sessions as well. Take a look at www.yogaatschool.org.uk, www.yogabugs.com , www.yogarebels.co.uk and www.theyogafactory.co.uk
Logging off and shutting down are extremely important for children who have to deal with distractions galore, peer pressure and the overstimulation of modern life.
Yoga provides children with the space to breathe whilst helping them develop essential skills for a lifetime of health and happiness from top to toe.
Yogis who come home from school with an awareness of their breathing, balance and focus and can talk at length about their feelings in an open and reflective way are truly getting in tune with themselves.
Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust
Yoga with Adriene – Free Yoga Resources for Schools
In the next video, Sophia Khan leads a fun and family-friendly introduction to yoga.