Besides for being the first full month of school for most kids, September is National Yoga Month (recognized as such by the US Department of Health and Human Services)!
The benefits of practicing yoga regularly include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved athletic performance, and improved respiration, energy and vitality (American Osteopathic Association). Beyond just physical, yoga helps people manage stress and reduce its effect on the mind and body.
Yoga is especially beneficial for children, both in and outside a school setting. It helps them develop body awareness, build concentration, and increase confidence. Teachers often find that using yoga techniques, such as poses and breathing exercises, helps kids de-escalate stressful altercations among themselves, and handle external challenges.
How do you introduce yoga in your classroom? You can start by using breathing exercises to help kids focus after a particularly energetic period, such as immediately following a classroom switch, physical education class or after lunch and recess. Simply asking everyone to breathe in and out through their nose for equal periods of 5-10 seconds can help students calm their mind and refocus their thoughts. Some easy seated yoga poses can also help students redirect their energy. Try a few seated twists, or stretching arms above head and reaching them forward toward the front of the desk. Many teachers find that incorporating yoga into their classrooms actually causes fewer disruptions overall and increases their teaching time.
If you need more yoga inspiration for your classroom, check out our videos on www.amazenu.com. Designed for use in the classroom and appropriate for students aged K-12, the videos include yoga and mindfulness sequences and are only $5/month for unlimited viewing.
Follow our AmaZEN U Facebook page for more useful tips about using yoga in your classroom! Happy Yoga Month!