As more and more schools start to embrace the power of yoga and mindfulness to improve the wellbeing of their students, teachers are looking for easy ways to bring yoga into their classrooms. As someone who has worked in various school settings, and seen students embracing yoga with bright eyes and open hearts, I can attest that it is a much needed and easy addition to any teacher’s lesson plans.
You don't have to be a certified yoga teacher to bring yoga into your classroom. Check out these easy ways that you can start bringing yoga to your students today!
1. Use a Yoga Card Deck
There are so many fun yoga decks on the market that illustrate the poses in a kid friendly way. Using these cards is as easy as reading the descriptions to your students and having them follow along. You can set aside just five minutes a day to work on some poses. If you have more time, here are more ideas of fun ways to use yoga cards.
2. Make Yoga Part of Your Routine
Many teachers already pull their students together for a morning circle, and this is the perfect place to incorporate yoga. You can offer your students a couple of seated poses in the morning to help center them. You can also try doing a few Sun Salutations before and after a transition as a way to reset and refocus.
When students are waiting in line, try some standing poses, or simply a breathing exercise. Any time that the energy in the class is high or students need a brain break is the perfect time to practice yoga.
3. Offer Yoga as a Break
It is always nice to have a place set aside in the classroom for students to take a break when they feel tired or overwhelmed. Try setting up a yoga mat in the corner of your classroom and allow students to use it during free work times or when they complete an assignment.
You can post a few pictures of yoga poses in that area or have a card deck available for their reference.
4. Weave Yoga Into Your Existing Units
If you’re doing a unit on penguins, have your students come up with penguin-inspired yoga poses. If you’re learning the alphabet, make letter shapes with your bodies using yoga poses. I’ve led an entire yoga class using outer space-themed poses. Any theme can lend itself to a yoga class, and letting your kids get creative and make up their own poses is a great activity.
5. Get Support From Online Yoga Resources
If you’re completely baffled by the idea of leading yoga yourself, call in some backup. There are so many wonderful yoga videos out there, and plenty that are geared towards children. If you have access to a computer in your classroom, set your students up with the video and let them go.
If they’re anything like my students, they’ll embrace anything involving technology. That way, you’ll also get a chance to learn how to teach while practicing with them. This is a great thing to do on a rainy day when you can’t get out for recess.
One of the main hurdles for teachers is finding the time to fit one more thing into their lesson plans, let alone create an additional one for yoga. But with these methods, there’s no planning involved. Yoga is something that can simply build on things that teachers already do.
Better yet, it has the potential to leave kids less stressed, more focused, and better able to manage the tasks at hand. For teachers, this is a true gift. Are you a school teacher who brings yoga elements in the classroom? Share your tips and experiences below!
Image credit: Gordon Ogden