Yoga 4 Classrooms®

Tools for learning. Lessons for life.

Yoga 4 Classrooms Blog

Diets in Yoga in the Classroom

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reprinted with permission from  See original article here.  

As school districts continue to tighten their budget, certain classes become extinct to make way for a more fiscally efficient approach to education. If the days of playing kickball, bombardment and whiffle ball in PE classes are long gone, what is taking their place to fulfill the physical activity requirements of growing children?

In 2001, The Accelerated School in Los Angeles, California piloted a program called YogaEd, designed by Tara Guber, in an effort to bring yoga into the classroom. The objective of this strictly secular curriculum was to teach proper posture and body awareness, techniques for relaxation and stress management, and self esteem building through compassionate problem resolution. The program’s goals were to instill life long habits for healthy living, enhance physical, social, emotional and mental health, and strengthen academic performance.

Read the article in full here.  

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Portsmouth Herald: Mitchell School implements yoga

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lisa Flynn, right, leads a room full of teachers, mostly from Mitchell School, in Yoga4Classrooms held at the Links at Outlook Tuesday. Teachers are introduced to mindfulness-based activities which will benefit the classroom.  Deb Cram/

KITTERY, Maine — All 40-plus teachers at Mitchell School stood crammed in the middle of a room Tuesday morning, talking in loud voices at each other about what they had for lunch the day before.

"Notice the sensations in your body, notice your breath, notice your heart rate," said yoga instructor Lisa Flynn.

Next, they stood in "mountain pose," breathing in and out evenly, relaxing the body. "Now, take your pulse. How is your heart rate? Do you feel more in balance?"

That difference, between boisterous and calm, is often the difference between a child whose mind is wandering and one whose mind is focused, said Flynn. And with a some simple yoga techniques, teachers can improve classroom time for their students.

Flynn knows what she's talking about. Founder of Childlight Yoga in Dover, for the past five years she also has run Yoga4Classrooms, a program that incorporates yoga practices in elementary schools.

What began as a volunteer project at Central School in South Berwick, where she and her family live, has grown to incorporate schools from the Seacoast region as well as in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Flynn said, too often, classroom time is "so structured. There's no time any more for PE (physical education) and kids only get one recess a day. So it's no wonder they can't concentrate. They're not connected here," she said, pointing to her heart.

"Y4C," as it's called, features 67 yoga activities, many done at a child's desk and none requiring special equipment or clothing. Included are yoga postures, breathing exercises, visualization and community-building games.

Flynn said some last as little as 30 seconds and few last longer than 90 seconds.

"We call it an imagination vacation," she said. "The teacher tosses them in throughout the day. If they notice an imbalance in the room, they can take advantage of" the practices.

The Yoga4Classrooms Web site is replete with testimonials, including one from Central School teacher Kathy Bousquet.

"The time we spend on our practice is not 'lost' academic time (a concern of some teachers)," she wrote. "It actually increases student productivity on academic tasks. The children are more focused, alert, better listeners, more able to follow directions and are more relaxed during challenging tasks."

The Yoga4Classrooms program is coming to Mitchell School, thanks to first-grade teacher Tonya Fitzgerald, who took the training last summer and began using some of the practices during the past school year.

"As teachers, we're always looking for new and fun things for the children to do," and the exercises "really help the brain to work better," Fitzgerald said.

The program involves training like the one held Tuesday, as well as a 10-week in-class residency program with trained instructors.

The work of Yoga4Classrooms has also caught the attention of researchers. A team of graduate students from the University of Massachusetts Lowell are coming to the school this fall to study the effects of the practices on children's school performance.

Flynn donated her time Tuesday to train the teachers, but the residency program does cost money — something in short supply at Mitchell School these days of dwindling budgets.

Flynn appealed to her fellow yoga instructors, and upward of 12 Seacoast area practices contributed money (note from Lisa Flynn: These include Buddhi Boutique, 3 Bridges Yoga, Bikram Yoga Portsmouth, Prasada Yoga Center, Yoga East, Blue Moon Yoga / YogaLife Institute, Lauren Hajjar / ChildLight Yoga - Merrimack Valley, ChildLight Yoga, Yoga on York, Cider Hill Yoga, plus G. Williker's) as well as Bob's Clam Hut, Good Girl Graphics, Sarah Varney Photography, The Red Barn, and Trashcan Lids productions

In addition, Kittery School Department health coordinator Becky Bridges was able to contribute some funding from her budget.

Mitchell School Principal David Foster said not all the money has been raised, however. He said Flynn has agreed to start the program this fall even without full funding, but he's hopeful that community members would be willing to contribute.


Tax-deductible donation checks payable to Horace Mitchell School can be mailed to:

School Yoga Fundraiser, c/o Childlight Yoga/Y4C
453 Central Ave., Suite 103
Dover, NH 03820.

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Seacoast Yoga Community Seeks Donations for Kittery Schools Wellness Program

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 9, 2011
Contact: Lisa Flynn
Phone: 603-343-4116

School Yoga Program Seeks Donations for Kittery's Mitchell School

KITTERY, MAINE — On behalf of Kittery’s Horace Mitchell Primary School and other seacoast schools wishing to incorporate yoga-based wellness tools into their curriculum, Yoga 4 Classrooms has launched a fundraising drive to help make their program a reality for budget-conscious schools.

Yoga 4 Classrooms is a locally owned enrichment program, offering yoga and mindfulness education for students and teachers with the purpose of improving student focus while developing a lifelong awareness of the importance of physical and emotional health.  All of the program’s activities, including deep breathing, stretching and relaxation techniques, can be done at one’s desk or in a classroom environment.

Y4C has been incorporated into at least four area schools, including Central School in South Berwick and Eliot, Rye and Rollinsford Elementary schools.  And while there are others working to find funding to bring it in, including Mitchell School in Kittery, school budgets and parent-teacher fundraising just aren’t what they used to be.

“School budgets are tighter than ever and outside funding sources are also scarce and competitive,” said Lisa Flynn, owner of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms.  “Parent-teacher organizations are working diligently to fundraise, but their money is now needed to supply even the basics due to state budget cuts.”

Flynn and other members of the local yoga and business community are taking things into their own hands, supporting cash-strapped schools who lack the funding necessary to offer the program. Bikram Yoga Portsmouth, Film Barn Studios, 3 Bridges Yoga, Buddhi Boutique, Yoga on the Hill, Yoga East, Cider Hill Yoga, Stella & Dot by Ginger Pingree, Prasada Yoga Center, YogaLife Institute of NH, Good Girl Graphics, Empower Yoga Center, Bob's Clam Hut, Yoga on York, Sarah Varney Photography, The Red Barn, and Trashcan Lid Productions have all committed to future fundraising events to support this cause.

Tax deductible donation checks made payable to Horace Mitchell School and mailed to: School Yoga Fundraiser, c/o ChildLight Yoga/Y4C, 453 Central Ave., Suite 103, Dover, NH 03820. 

For more information about Yoga 4 Classrooms and the school yoga movement, visit

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Raising Maine Magazine features Lisa Flynn, founder of Yoga 4 Classrooms

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Lisa Flynn, founder of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms, is the featured Mom this month in Raising Maine Magazine. In the article, she discusses her journey to sharing yoga with children, the benefits of yoga for kids, the story of Yoga 4 Classrooms and more. Read the Q & A here.

(Photo: Lisa Flynn at ChildLight Yoga Studio in Dover, NH. Courtesy of Raising Maine Magazine)

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The Strong Case for Practicing Yoga in Schools

Thursday, July 14, 2011

by Saagara Health And Wellness in Health / Fitness    (submitted 2011-07-13)

A Meditation how to for Better Academic Performance

Students looking to improve their academic performance, or parents looking for ways to help their kids become all-stars in the classroom, have another option other than tutors. It turns out yoga has been shown through studies and anecdotal evidence to improve students' academic performance, alertness and concentration by relieving stress.

What is stress? Learning relaxation techniques to improve grades

Studies have shown that low or moderate levels of stress can interfere with academic performance, especially as it pertains to tests. Stress results in the inability to concentrate. Practicing yoga leads a person having control over favorable and unfavorable circumstances with moderate responses. Those who practice yoga achieve a serene mind, optimal physical health and spiritual uplift. After six months of practicing yoga, practitioners achieve a feeling of wellbeing, increased vital capacity, a reduction in body weight, and acceleration in endocrinal (hormonal) functions. Improvements with memory and with problems such as headaches, insomnia and nervousness have also been documented.

Children and the benefits of yoga or meditation techniques

Yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on adolescents and children as young as four years old. One study showed that a 4-week program of yoga and meditation lowered aggressive behavior in students, while another reported that meditation improved emotional and physical health and psychological wellbeing. Improvements were also shown in eye-hand coordination, attention, concentration and relaxation.

Anecdotal evidence of yoga's positive effect on children
An article in USA Today in 2009 featured the increasing interest in incorporating meditation in schools. One elementary school in California had seen a reduction in fighting and sharper focus from its students. Studies on Los Angeles preschoolers who were taught meditation showed that they exhibited improvements in their ability pay attention and focus. Improvements in early elementary school kids were only shown when they started with attention problems.

Weekly hour-long lessons at schools in England, which were funded with a government grant, helped raise academic performance among students. In 2009, an elementary school in South East London reported a 100 percent pass rate in standardized tests in English, math and science after students were taught breathing exercises before the exams.

How to use yoga to improve academic performance

When incorporating yoga into the curriculum, it's best to start with breathing techniques. Move onto visualization techniques in which you tell the children to think about a time they were proud of themselves. Instruct them to hold onto that feeling of confidence and visualize themselves doing well on the test. Having students practice tree, seated twists and seated arm stretches will add physical activity to the meditation. Also try yoga breaks during tests.

The evidence of yoga's benefit is conclusive to reduce levels of stress

Studies have shown that students who practiced yoga performed better in overall academics and in individual subjects than their fellow students who did not practice yoga. Yoga has been proven to change perception, attention, concentration and cognition for the better and to be helpful in managing anxiety. Yoga improves academic performance by controlling stress levels and it should become a fixture in schools.

About the Author

Saagara is an Ann Arbor based Digital Health Company, whose founders have an eclectic background in medicine, design, engineering, and yoga/meditation. The Saagara team is dedicated to helping you maximize your overall health and well being, so that you may lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Through the use of software available on mobile platforms, we make small changes in people's lifestyle for dramatic improvements in their health and well-being. With technology, community, and raised awareness, we wish to do this on a global level.

Please visit us at!

You can also read more about yoga on our yoga health guides page below:

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Upcoming One-Day Professional Development Workshops

Monday, June 13, 2011

SUMMER & FALL 2011 Teacher Workshop Dates and Locations:  PA, NC, NH, ME

Date:  Monday, July 25, 2011
Time:  10am - 4pm (lunch 12:30-1:15pm)
Location: YogaLife Institute
, Devon, PA
Registration Deadline: July 20 (extended - just a few spots left!)

Date:  Monday, August 8, 2011
Time:  10am - 4pm (lunch 12:30-1:15pm)
Wilmington Yoga Center, Wilmington, NC
Registration Deadline: July 22

Date:  Thursday, August 18, 2011
Time:  11am - 5pm (lunch 1 - 1:45pm)
Location: Moondog Yoga Studio, Quakertown, PA
Registration Deadline: August 4

Date:  Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Time:  10am - 4:00pm (lunch 12:30-1:15pm)
Location: The Red Barn at The Links at Outlook
, South Berwick, ME (near Dover/Portsmouth, NH)
Registration Deadline: August 6

Date:  Sunday, October 2, 2011
Time:  9am - 3pm (lunch 12-12:45pm)
Location:  Hart Yoga, Brunswick, ME
Registration Deadline:  Sept. 18

Date:  Sunday, November 20, 2011
Time: 10am - 4pm (lunch 12:30-1:15pm)
ChildLight Yoga Studio, Dover, NH
Registration Deadline: Nov. 6

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Welcome to Yoga 4 Classrooms!

Thursday, March 03, 2011


My name is Lisa Flynn, the Owner/Director of Yoga 4 Classrooms®. I’m thrilled to welcome you to the Yoga 4 Classrooms blog. Here, I’ll share stories from the field with you, along with tips, new activities and newsworthy information, research and articles from experts in the fields of education, learning, yoga and health. As you will learn, all of these fields tie together seamlessly to support the Yoga 4 Classrooms program.

We hope you’ll join our community by subscribing to follow the blog. You can then comment on the posts by sharing your own thoughts and stories, making suggestions or asking questions.

You might also like to join the conversations at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

You might also be interested in following ChildLight Yoga's blog, The Kids' Yoga Resource.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Should you have questions or if we can help you in any way, please contact us directly at 603-343-4116 or send and email to

All my best,
Lisa Flynn

Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

© Yoga 4 Classrooms®. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Refund/Return Policy
Site by Namaste Interactive.