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What We Can Learn from the Encinitas School Yoga Lawsuit: New Study Summary

Sunday, September 17, 2017

In 2013, the parents of two students at a school in Encinitas, California filed a lawsuit against the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) claiming that yoga is areligious practice that should not be taught in public schools. The parents were concerned that a EUSD health and wellness program (HWP) that included yoga was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The first trial took place in June 2013, with a final ruling that the EUSD HWP was not religious. The concerned parents appealed this initial ruling, and the case was brought to the California state supreme court. In April 2015, the state appeals court again ruled that the HWP was not religious.

A few weeks after the ruling, researchers from the University of Buffalo, led by Catherine Cook-Cottone, Ph.D., interviewed 32 school personnel who were involved with the lawsuit, including district superintendents, assistants, school principals, classroom teachers, instructors of the EUSD HWP, and University of San Diego researchers who were originally involved in studying the program. In August 2017, the results of their qualitative study were published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy.  

The study described a large variety of opinions and experiences of school personnel who were involved with the lawsuit, so a full description of the findings is beyond the scope of this article. However, we want to highlight a few results for consideration by yoga service providers.

First of all, participants were in agreement that the HWP was not religious, however they expressed compassion and understanding about the parents’ concerns, and support of their right to address their concerns in court.

Also, despite the fact that the Encinitas lawsuit received a lot of media attention, it’s interesting to note that very few children actually opted out of the EUSD HWP. According to one health and wellness instructor quoted in the study, only 8 out of around 700 students opted out of the program, primarily for religious reasons. In other words, the majority of parents appeared to be supportive of the HWP.

One topic that came up repeatedly in the study was that there may have been several factors related to the initial implementation of the HWP that sparked parental concerns. Yoga was initially introduced in 2011 to one EUSD school by one instructor. However, the program grew rapidly based on funding received from the Sonima Foundation (formerly Jois Foundation, now known as Pure Edge Inc.). This funding allowed the district to develop a formal HWP and implement it district-wide during the 2012-2013 school year.

Some study participants noted that when yoga was initially introduced at EUSD, it included cultural artifacts, such as Sanskrit language, mandalas, Hindu stories, prayer mudra (i.e. bringing hands together at one’s heart), and a poster that outlined the eight limbs of yoga from Patanjali’s yoga sutras. They shared that while the intention of the HWP was never meant to be religious, these cultural artifacts may have been what sparked initial parental concerns. The EUSD responded quickly to these concerns by removing all cultural artifacts from the school environment, clearly explaining to the program instructors that these artifacts were not appropriate, and giving parents the opportunity to observe the yoga classes, but it’s possible the “damage” had already been done.

The results of this study highlight several key takeaways for those of us interested in implementing yoga in school settings:

1)    Take the time to make sure all stakeholders, including school personnel, parents, program instructors, and students are fully informed and aware of the secular nature of the program. While yoga instructors and some classroom teachers might be excited about the prospect of implementing school-based yoga, and want to do it quickly, not all stakeholders will feel the same way. Read this 2012 article Lisa wrote in response to the Encinitas controversy, for tips about informing all stakeholders, including holding information sessions for parents and teachers, as well as sending information letters and regular updates to parents.

2)    As passionate yoga enthusiasts, we need to ensure we practice what we teach. Yes, we believe yoga offers a secular method to enhance social emotional skills and positive youth development, but we need to be extremely thoughtful about how we are approaching schools and delivering programming. While Sanskrit language, mandalas, and prayer mudras might be so common in our lives that we don’t perceive them as anything out of the ordinary, we need to be mindful of the fact that it is practically guaranteed that school community members, including parents, will have experiences that are different from ours. Despite our innocent intentions, including cultural artifacts can actually prevent some students from accessing yoga, which is opposite of our intentions. Respect, compassion and non-attachment are essential.

3)    Another key takeaway is the importance of transparency about the origins and funding of your school-based yoga program (if it receives outside funding). While most school-based yoga programs are not funded by external sources, the EUSD HWP received funding from, and was developed by, the Sonima Foundation, which was formerly known as the Jois Foundation. According to the Jois Yoga website, Jois Yoga “is an institute set up to impart the traditional Ashtanga philosophy and practice developed and taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India since the early 20th century.” Note that the Jois Foundation is not alone in this – other school-based yoga programs, such as Kripalu Yoga in the Schools, are also supported by organizations that have ties to traditional teachers and practices from India. These types of funding situations are the minority, however it is important to be aware of and transparent about the origins of the program that you are teaching. No matter how far removed the school-based versions of these yoga programs are from the traditional origins of these organizations, any parent who does a bit of online digging has the potential to become concerned if these ties are not made transparent from the beginning. In other words, these types of collaborations need to be made clear to parents and school personnel upfront. The most crucial piece here is to provide information explaining that the school-based versions of these yoga programs have been developed in secular ways that are not associated with any particular religious practices or beliefs.  

4)    It’s important that we recognize that controversies and lawsuits such as the Encinitas case can and will be sensationalized by the media. One small error in judgement while teaching yoga in a single class in a single school can be cause for that program to be completely shut down as we’ve seen take place in various instances around the country in recent years. When the media creates a stir, well founded or not, it creates fear which can, and has, negatively affected the current and/or planned implementation of other quality yoga and mindfulness programming in other schools/districts. We have experienced this negative phenomenon first-hand by having had a district-wide contract rescinded before the program even started due to fear caused by media attention generated from a single parent in single school who took offense to a classroom teacher leading mandala coloring and using the term, “Namaste,” with her students. These are seemingly small incidents that can lead to tremendously negative consequences, not just on individual schools and programs, but on the yoga in schools movement as a whole.

5)    Finally, it’s important to keep to the science. Be clear about the reasons why you want to implement a school-based yoga program in the first place. Rather than being a stealthy way to spread religious doctrine, school-based yoga really does help kids. There are several scientific reviews and rationale papers that you can offer your district personnel and parents that explain the stress managing and self-regulating affects of yoga. For a comprehensive reference list of peer-reviewed research on yoga and mindfulness for youth, check out the Yoga 4 Classrooms supporting research webpage.

School personnel at EUSD did the best they could under difficult circumstances, and now it’s up to us to learn from their experiences. What can we learn? In a nutshell: full transparency is necessary, from all angles, before you implement yoga in a school. Go slow and understand the best practices for what and how you are teaching so that you don’t end up with issues later on. Implementing school-based yoga in a mindful, conscientious way will help ensure that students and schools across this country and others have access to programming that has the potential to support social and emotional learning, health and wellness, and positive school climate.

Reference:

Cook-Cottone, C., Lemish, E., & Guyker, W. (2017). Interpretive phenomenological analysis of a lawsuit contending that school-based yoga is religion: A study of school personnel. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.17761/IJYT2017_Research_Cook_Cottone

Authors:

Bethany Butzer, Ph.D.
 serves as research advisor for Yoga 4 Classrooms. Bethany received her Ph.D. in psychology in 2008 from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and she recently spent 2.5 years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where she studied the effects of yoga in school settings. Bethany is also an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Learn more at www.bethanybutzer.com. 

Lisa Flynn is founder and CEO of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms, author of the Yoga 4 Classrooms Activity Card Deck; and Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Reslient Children, contributor to Best Practices for Yoga in Schools, and sponsor of the free Research Repository: Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness for Children, Adolescents and in Schools which she developed with Bethany. Lisa contributed to the first published research study to use subjective and objective data to examine the acute and longitudinal effects of a school based yoga intervention in young children. Learn more about Lisa here.


About Yoga 4 Classrooms:

Yoga 4 Classrooms is a secular, evidence-informed yoga and mindfulness program for schools that promotes social, emotional and physical health and wellness, learning readiness and a positive school climate. By providing training and resources to support sustainable, school wide implementation, we empower schools to meet improvement goals while preparing students for a lifetime of success.

Interested in integrating secular yoga and mindfulness at your school? Attend an upcoming workshop near you, take the online course, or host an in-service training for your school staff. Contact us to learn more.


Related Articles:

Yoga in Schools Promotes Spiritual Development and it Has Nothing to Do With Religion (Y4C Blog / Elephant Journal)
Yoga in Schools is Not a Religious Practice - Elephant Journal features our article on the issue (Y4C Blog / Elephant Journal)





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5 Tips for Getting Students Excited About Yoga Breaks in the Classroom

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Danielle, Kutcher, 4th/5th grade teacher & Yoga 4 Classrooms IMPLEMENT™ Leader at a New Jersey elementary school shares her 5 tips to increase student engagement during yoga breaks. Learn Danielle's secrets to getting students to actually ask you for more yoga in the classroom which promotes readiness to learn and the development of social and emotional skills. 

Watch now...





Also, don't miss this inspiring
"Michael Jackson" music video created by Danielle's former 4th grade class, where they share with us what they've learned about yoga and mindfulness throughout the year. A must see!  Watch now.

Danielle was also recently featured in the article, "Mindful Classrooms: Teaching Kids to Cope, One Breath at a Time", published in New Jersey Monthly, January, 2017. Read more.

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4 Reasons School Counselors Should Include Yoga and Mindfulness in Their School Counseling Program

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On a typical day, the average school counselor will encounter a wide range of “fires to put out.” As leaders within the school community, we support students’ academic performance, social/emotional learning, and promote college and career readiness. We also advocate on students’ behalf, support teachers and staff, as well as provide resources for families in need. Yoga and mindfulness practices can be useful tools to assist school counselors in implementing a comprehensive school counseling program. From my experience, I have learned that there are 4 powerful reasons why all school counselors should use yoga and mindfulness to support and strengthen their school counseling program.

1. Closing the Achievement Gap

As a school counselor, one of my primary tasks is to support students in closing achievement gaps. Over the last two years, I have used both yoga and mindfulness to support academic achievement gaps with my students. Last year, I used mindfulness practices to increase math standardized test scores with a targeted group of fifth grade students. My experience and training with mindfulness practices introduced me to the brain-based research that supports using it with students. Studies show that following mindfulness training, the hippocampus, which is critical to learning and memory, becomes more active (Goldin & Gross, 2010) and has more gray matter density (Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J. & Vangel, M., 2011). The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain most associated with executive functioning skills and has also been found to be more activated following mindfulness training (Chiesa & Serretti 2010). When deciding how to develop my intervention, I started with a list of executive functioning skills for the students to strengthen. I also looked at current research in the field of mindfulness. Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl of the University of British Columbia evaluated the effectiveness of the MindUp curriculum on students in fourth and fifth grade and found that 15% of students improved their math achievement scores (Schonert-Reichl, Oberle & Lawlor, 2015).

Taking all of the research into consideration, I developed a "Mindful Math Group" that met once a week for eight weeks. I introduced my students to a variety of mindfulness techniques with the intention of reducing test anxiety and improving executive function skills. We used conscious breathing, focused our attention on the present moment, learned organization and time management skills, and shifted our mindset to encourage resilience. At the beginning of each small group, we spent a “mindful minute” to “check in” with ourselves and the present moment. I collaborated with the math teacher to conclude each group with a math problem in which students would apply the executive functioning skill that was taught that day. Each lesson was tied to the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) Mindsets and Behaviors, specifically, those that were identified as being most needed by perception data collected from the teachers. In the end, 68% of participating students improved their test score from the year before.

This year, I am integrating a yoga practice into Project Based Learning experience that is intended to support all fourth grade students in passing their Virginia Studies Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment. As l disaggregated the data, I found that the students were struggling with memorizing the facts for this particular assessment. At the National Kids' Yoga Conference in October, I heard a keynote presentation by Dr. John Ratey, author of  SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain which inspired me to integrate the physical practice of yoga to help my students memorize their Virginia Studies facts. Using his approach during the second quarter in 2016, I divided all fourth grade students into small groups, gave them a list of facts to memorize, and tasked them with working in a group to create a yoga sequence to retell those facts. The students were highly engaged and very creative with their execution of this project. Although they have not taken their Virginia Studies SOL yet, 44% of students increased their report card grade for works effectively within a group from first to second quarter. The average perception of students’ attitudes, skills, and knowledge also improved following this project.  

2. Improving Student Behavior

Our school district uses Response to Intervention (RTI), which is a common multi-tiered support system for students struggling with academic achievement and/or behavior. Since several studies have examined the positive impact of yoga on behavior in schools, I decided to try it with my students. I began to integrate yoga into my classroom guidance lessons as a Tier One intervention for all students. After identifying a group of students that needed more individualized behavioral support, I created a Tier Two intervention using yoga to reduce behavior related office referrals. I designed and implemented an eight week, small group yoga program titled "Warriors with Self-Control" to help these students with impulsivity and self-regulation. By the end of the eight weeks, behavior referrals were significantly reduced and teacher perception of the students’ ability to use self-control increased by 92%. These results led the teachers at my school to become more interested in these techniques and how yoga interventions can provide behavioral support.




3. Promoting a Culture of Compassion

Most yoga practitioners have heard the term “taking your yoga off the mat,” and promoting a school culture of kindness and compassion does just that. I use the Yamas and Niyamas, yoga's universal principles, combined with the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors to drive my core counseling curriculum. They provide a valuable framework for my classroom guidance lessons and promote character education. During the last few years, I have used the philosophies of classical yoga to enhance my school’s anti-bullying campaign called Compassion in Action. My classroom lessons have focused on using compassion and empathy to decrease bullying and we have seen great success so far. This year, our focus is self-compassion and we are using a wide range of yoga and mindfulness practices to enhance this focus. Students have also enjoyed learning a new yoga pose every week during our morning news show!

4. Self-Care and Stress Management

Last, but certainly not least, we can all use a little bit of self-care and stress management. Yoga and mindfulness practices provide fantastic opportunities to teach students AND teachers and staff, about stress reduction and burnout prevention. My students learn the benefits of “rest and digest” and how yoga and mindfulness can trigger the relaxation response within their body. They learn to be aware of the signs that their body gives them when their “fight or flight” response is activated and how to use self-regulation strategies that help deactivate the sympathetic nervous system. I have offered PTA (Parent Teacher Association) presentations on the benefits of yoga and mindfulness as well as staff development on strategies to prevent burnout. Yoga and mindfulness practices assist my students in so many ways. AND, they help me be more effective as a school counselor.

As you can see, there are many benefits to integrating yoga and mindfulness practices into your comprehensive school counseling program. In fact, Dr. Julia Taylor from the University of Virginia recently completed a dissertation titled The Experiences of School Counselors Who Integrate Yoga into a Comprehensive School Counseling Program: A Phenomenological Approach. It’s worth a read! In the end, I cannot imagine my school counseling program without these integrated practices!


Join us April 24 - 26th at the Annual Yoga in the Schools Symposium!

Join me and Yoga 4 Classrooms and ChildLight Yoga founder, Lisa Flynn, at the Annual Yoga in the Schools Symposium being held at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health on April 24-26, 2017. We will be sharing ways to identify the common themes in Social and Emotional Learning, Mindfulness, and Yoga as well as alignment with ASCA Standards. Participants will walk away with a variety of simple mindfulness/yoga practices to use with students in the classroom, with individual students and in small group settings, as well as identify best practices for building staff and administrator support for school wide integration of yoga and mindfulness practices to support SEL skills, learning and positive climate. If you'd like to join us, take advantage of a special 10% discount for educators and school counselors by calling to register:  800-741-7353.  

We hope to see you there!


References:

Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2010). A systematic review of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness meditations.    Psychological Medicine, 40(08), 1239–1252.
Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-¬based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social     anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83.
Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36–43.
S.Schonert- Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, D., Oberlander, T., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social- emotional competence through a simple-to-administer school program. Developmental Psychology, 51(1): 52–66.

Erin Hurley, M.Ed., RYT, RCYT, is the Fairfax County Public Schools “School Counselor of the Year” and the Vice President of the Virginia School Counselor Association. She has worked in public education for eleven years, spending her first seven years as a kindergarten teacher before completing her M.Ed. in Counseling and Development at George Mason University. In addition to her current role as an Elementary School Counselor at Cherry Run Elementary in Burke, VA, she is also a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher and has completed Mindful Schools curriculum training. With plans to become a Yoga 4 Classrooms IMPLEMENT Leader, Erin looks forward to leading implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms school wide. She presents regularly on the topics of yoga, mindfulness, and social and emotional learning at area school counseling conferences.

Interested in integrating yoga and mindfulness at your school? Attend an upcoming workshop near you, take the online course, or host an in-service training for your school staff. Contact us to learn more.

Related Articles:

Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms | VIDEO
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools : How & Why Does it Work?
The Benefits of Meditation for Children | Forbes article
Des Moines School District Reduces Punitive Actions
Yoga for School Kids - YogaGlo features benefits of Yoga 4 Classrooms
An Antidote to Teacher Burnout - How Yoga and Mindfulness Can Support Resilience In and Out of the Classroom




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Yoga promotes social and emotional learning in New Jersey classrooms

Monday, January 16, 2017

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and the capacity to regulate emotions is critical for childhood development. Yet, skills such as self-awareness and self-management often take a back seat to math and language skills in the public school setting. Danielle Kutcher, 5th Grade Teacher at Woodland Elementary in Monroe Township (NJ), always felt like a critical piece of the puzzle to educate the whole child was missing. Four years ago, she attended a Yoga 4 Classrooms training which completely changed her whole philosophy on educating children. "It was that powerful," Danielle shared recently with New Jersey Monthly magazine who recently interviewed her for an article on mindful classrooms. 

Once Danielle started implementing what she learned from the Yoga 4 Classrooms program, she immediately saw positive changes in her students. "I saw changes in their self-perception; they were feeling better about themselves... and with this change came a readiness to learn." ....

“Parents are completely surprised that we have programs like this,” says Suleski, referring to Yoga 4 Classrooms. “And they are right…. We’re fortunate here in Millstone that we support this type of thing.”...

In Monroe Township, Kutcher says the feedback from parents has been gratifying. She recalls a class mom who pulled her aside during a school fundraiser. “She had tears streaming down her face and said, ‘I’m not quite sure what this program you’re doing is about, but I want to thank you.’ And she hugged me. I got chills. I asked what was going on. She said, ‘I always had to battle my son to do homework, but now I watch him get up from the table, take a balloon breath, stand in mountain pose for a moment or two, and then he goes right back.’ She said, ‘I started to do it too. I started to take these breaths at work and do methods at my desk, and now my son feels like a rock star, because he’s teaching mom.’”

Whatever the age, the lessons are invaluable, says Kutcher. “This is going to carry them through their lifetimes.”

Read the full article, "Mindful Classrooms: Teaching Kids to Cope, One Breath at a Time", published in New Jersey Monthly, January, 2017.




5th grade teacher Danielle Kutcher guides her students into mindful moments throughout the day to assist with stress management, learning readiness. Photo permission courtesy of NJ Monthly Magazine. 


Interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to your school? Contact us to learn more.

Related Articles:

Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms | VIDEO
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools : How & Why Does it Work?
The Benefits of Meditation for Children | Forbes article
Des Moines School District Reduces Punitive Actions
Yoga for School Kids - YogaGlo features benefits of Yoga 4 Classrooms





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Yoga for School Kids - Yogaglo features Yoga 4 Classrooms

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

As more schools around the country start adding yoga and mindfulness practices to their curricula, there is also a growing stream of positive media attention. Most recently, the popular Yogaglo Blog published an article titled, Yoga for School Kids, written by Alice Walton. Alice is also responsible for recently published Forbes article which touted the scientific benefits of of meditation for children's brains and behavior, a notable read.  

Y4C founder and CEO, Lisa Flynn, first met Alice at the first annual Yoga in the Schools Symposium held at Kripalu back in 2014. As a health and science writer, she was inspired to learn more about the tremendous impact yoga and mindfulness integration at school can have on the health and performance of schoolchildren and educators, as well as on school climate. Lisa had been following her writing since that time and was thrilled to hear from Alice a couple of months ago as she was gathering content for these articles. Her initial question: How does yoga and meditation in school support social and emotional growth and kindness? As it ends up, their communications focused on the seemingly endless trickle-down effects that regular yoga and meditation practices can have on individual students, educators and the school culture as a whole:

“It goes without saying that emotionally and physically healthy kids who feel safe, supported and connected are happier and more successful in and out of school,” says Lisa Flynn, who founded Yoga 4 Classrooms. “A growing body of evidence is demonstrating yoga in schools promotes the development of social, emotional, and physical well-being of school children (and teachers) as it fosters a positive, compassionate school climate, all of which are key for effective teaching and learning.”

When kids are more centered and more attentive, this can open up the way for academic changes to occur. And it’s the potential for academic benefits that may initially prompt the schools to make the leap into offering yoga – but the fuller range of benefits will of course be there as well. “With social-emotional changes in place, we begin to see improvements in the areas of academic achievement, and decreases in behavior referrals,” says Flynn. “These are the areas that may be of most interest to school administrators who are just starting to explore yoga for their schools.”

Read the full article here.

Interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to your school? Contact us to learn more.

Related Articles:

Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms | VIDEO
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools : How & Why Does it Work?
The Benefits of Meditation for Children | Forbes article
Des Moines School District Reduces Punitive Actions




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Des Moines School District Reduces Punitive Actions

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

During the 2015-16 school year in Des Moines (IA), black students accounted for 41 percent of all disciplinary referrals, but make up only 18.3 percent of district enrollment. Across the country, minority students receive disproportionately more suspensions and expulsions than their white peers. Civil right activists have drawn attention to the associated social concern of "school-to-prison" pipeline and even Former President Barack Obama has called for changes in approaches to school discipline. Unfortunately, there is little agreement on what that change should look like. In fact, some parents and teachers are raising concerns about the lack of disciplinary action in Des Moines, where school leaders are changing the district’s use of discipline to sharply reduce and eliminate expulsions. 

For years the standard practice was to kick misbehaving students out of the classroom but this often leads to the students falling behind academically and that approach does little to address the underlying issues of poor behavior. One approach that does seem to rally administrator, teacher and parent support is visible at Edmunds Elementary. The approach at Edmunds is actually part of a larger trend around the country -  schools are using yoga and mindfulness instead of punitive actions to address the underlying causes of disruptive classroom behavior which can include stress and trauma and a lack of social and emotional skills such as self-awareness and self-management. In an article titled, The Movement of Meditation Replacing Detention In Schools, Newsweek recently featured a Baltimore School which teaches students ways to manage their anger through yoga and meditation. And, a Forbes article titled, The Benefits of Meditation for Children, followed shortly thereafter. 

Edmunds has seen dramatic results as a result of school wide Yoga 4 Classrooms implementation, including reductions in office referrals from 1,195 in 2012-13 to just 303 in 2015-16. Principal Jaynette Rittman says that suspensions have been virtually eliminated. Fourth-grader Libby Latimore likes to imagine herself alone in a quiet space, away from the noise of school or home. The deep breaths help, especially after being angry. "It helps you forget about it for school," she said. "I calm myself down before I explode."

Read the full article here.


Interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to you school? Contact us to learn more.


Related Articles:

Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools : How & Why Does it Work?
Yoga 4 Classrooms Implement Leader featured in YogaIowa Magazine
The Benefits of Meditation for Children | Forbes article
Yoga for School Kids - Yogaglo features Yoga 4 Classrooms




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The Benefits of Meditation for Children | Forbes article

Monday, October 24, 2016

Recent articles such as this one in Newsweek featured a Baltimore school that replaced detention with meditation. This is part of a burgeoning trend of replacing punitive discipline with restorative justice practices in schools. While our friends at the Holistic Life Foundation have been leading school programs in the Baltimore area, other schools across the country such as Edmunds Elementary in Des Moines IA, have also been using yoga and meditation strategies to help students reflect on their actions and make mindful choices. At Edmunds, students that have experiencing difficulty with self-management are guided to name their emotion and practice their "go-to" breath which they choose at the beginning of the day to use when they are feeling triggered. Teaching students to manage their emotions and giving them a space to self-regulate also supports Social and Emotional Learning objectives (SEL) such as self management and responsible decision making. The efficacy of this approach involving yoga and meditation rather than detention is highlighted by tangible benefits such as a decrease in suspensions and increase in school attendance. 

In addition, the research on meditation and the developing child's brain is providing scientific support to the benefits observed in schools. A growing body of evidence highlights increased attention, reprieve from trauma and improved mental health as a result of meditation. This recent Forbes article, featuring statements from Lisa Flynn, founder and CEO of Yoga 4 Classrooms, succinctly highlights these evidence-based benefits and demonstrates the growing mainstream acceptance of yoga and meditation for children and in schools. Read the full article...

Interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness to your school? contact us to learn more.


Related Articles:
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools : How & Why Does it Work?
Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms | VIDEO
Yoga for School Kids - Yogaglo features Yoga 4 Classrooms


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School implements yoga to support executive functioning

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Steckel Elementary (Whitehall, PA) Principal Glenn Noack said the program, "Yoga 4 the Classroom," was introduced because his diverse student population often struggles with "executive functioning," which includes impulse, focus and attention control. He explained the students can perform the exercises right from their classroom seats. He added the program will not only help reduce stress and tension, but will also help reduce pre-test anxiety. 

Contact Us to implement Yoga 4 Classrooms® in your school!

Read more from WFMZ.com 








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Yoga helps students through busy school days | ABC News feature

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

School days are busy with plenty of transitions. How does yoga help students focus and get ready to learn? A growing corpus of research demonstrates that yoga activates the centers of higher executive function in the brain which facilitate complex tasks and are involved in forming new memories. It is no wonder that schools across the country are turning to yoga and mindfulness programs to improve classroom climate and boost academic outcome.

Sustainability Academy in Burlington, VT is a great example of sustainable Yoga 4 Classrooms implementation. They worked closely with local trainer Susan Cline Lucey to give all teachers, staff and students a common set of tools for self-management  Yoga 4 Classrooms

Would you like to Implement this simple and cost-effective program in your school? Contact Us to learn about training options.

Watch this ABC News Special to get the full story.






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The business and science behind children's yoga | Fosters.com News Article

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Yoga 4 Classrooms CEO and founder, Lisa Flynn speaks with Fosters reporter Kathy Eow. She explains her philosophy for bringing kids yoga into the educational system while using sustainable business ventures.

"Supporting yoga with scientific evidence about its health benefits grounds yoga in logic for the naysayers. Approaching yoga from a business perspective allows ChildLight Yoga / Yoga 4 Classrooms to be a sustainable venture. A different strategy, perhaps, but one that just might actualize Flynn’s long-term goal. “My philosophy is, if we can start kids off really young, and make it just part of the fabric and culture of the educational system, where we’re taking these pauses and movement and mindful breathing breaks and so forth, we’re building emotional resilience over time. That’s going to take policy change.”"

Contact Us to develop a sustainable and customized implementation plan so you can bring yoga and mindfulness tools to your classroom.

Read the Full article here:
 http://www.fosters.com/news/20160925/business-and-science-behind-childrens-yoga

Yoga 4 Classrooms founder & CEO, Lisa Flynn. Photo by Kathy Eow of Fosters.com
Yoga 4 Classrooms founder & CEO, Lisa Flynn.
Photo by Kathy Eow of Fosters.com




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