Yoga and mindfulness have been proven to help students of all ages in more ways than one. It provides an outlet for unbalanced energy, helps reduce stress and organizes the mind and body. They offer tools foster focus, sustained attention and aid in relaxing an anxious mind.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “how can I get yoga and mindfulness into my school district?” To get you started, here is some advice and suggestions based on my experience working in schools for the past 15 years.
Where to Start?
You know the saying, “the proof is in the pudding?” The phrase essentially means, “to know what the pudding tastes like, you have to try it.” Same applies here.
Before making an empathetic suggestion to your board, administration or other teachers to bring these programs into your district, gain some first hand experience using the tools with your students, like tasting the pudding.
Know what the benefits are from seeing them first hand. There have been numerous articles and research studies completed which support the practice and affirm the positive affects yoga and mindfulness have in the classroom. Although these do provide confirmation that these practices are beneficial in assisting the nervous system by opening learning centers in the brain, I have found that a teacher’s personal testimony, coming from experience and heart, is extremely powerful when paired with the scientific evidence.
So, how can you do this in an organized, time efficient way when you may not even have any formal yoga training? Start small.
Below are 3 tools that you can begin with. They are all from our EDUCATE 2B Program. To use this program, you don’t need to have ANY yoga experience. Although we offer a full day training to learn how to implement the 40 + tools, you can start with the suggestions and tools below:
- Teach each tool to your students as a “let’s explore how it feels,” experiment. These tools are “short and sweet.” They don’t take a lot of time, but effectively DO shift the nervous system to a more calm and organized state.
- Try completing the breathing and mindfulness tools for at least 2 minutes. The movement tool can be repeated 10 times. You don’t have to do them all at once. Perhaps you only offer one on the first day.
- After you have taught the tools and you are confident that the students know how to do them, begin to notice the energy and activity in the room before you start using the tool, and then after you use the tool.
- Remember to ask the students to take a moment after completing the tool and simply, “notice how you feel.” They don’t have to give a verbal response. It is an internal, personal listening and answering.
- You may have a few students that have challenges in the areas of focus, attention and behavior. Sharpen your eye on their reactions and affect following use of the tools.
- I recommend keeping a little log for at least 1-2 weeks. Observe any behavioral, attention, and motivational changes that occur. Notice if students seem happier, calmer, a bit more easeful and less stressed. You may witness a bit more self-regulation and independent behavioral management as well.