Yoga 4 Classrooms®

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Yoga 4 Classrooms Blog

Yoga Recess Day Inspires Ohio Educator to Design a Yoga and Mindfulness Week for Her School

Sunday, February 15, 2015

To help combat the winter blahs, I decided to design a yoga-focused winter Field Day. Many teachers and students in our building had already learned about Yoga 4 Classrooms so a yoga-themed spirit day felt like a natural fit. When I realized that I could not pack all the desired events into a single day, I changed my vision to a week-long yoga and mindfulness celebration culminating with Yoga Recess Day. Yoga Health Foundation sponsors Yoga Recess Day and Yoga 4 Classrooms is a proud educational partner of the annual event.

How did I make it happen? First, I secured the support of my building principal as well as our school's parent group. I worked hard to keep my plans financially feasible since resources were limited. Using my Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck, I designed a week of themed days based on the Be Well cards. I focused on fun, kid-friendly yoga and mindfulness activities which would fit easily into the existing curriculum.

Daily themes included:

Day One: "Unity/Connection" 
Day Two: "Kindness" 
Day Three: "Positivity" 
Day Four: "Love and Friendship" 
Day Five: "Peace"  

Each morning, we shared a reading about the day's focus and a related classroom activity over announcements. Activities included theme and yoga-related online videos that could be played on teachers' interactive white boards and then discussed in the classrooms. Our library's window wall showcased a daily theme-related poster panel to which students contributed throughout the week. Parent volunteers visited individual classrooms to help construct colored-rice mandalas which were hung in our hallways. 

Our week concluded with school-wide Yoga Recess activities in our gymnasium, library, and cafeteria/auditorium. The main activities occurred during the students' already scheduled "special" classes (art, music, gym and library). Lunch featured a healthy eating station sponsored by local organic food supermarket Earth Fare while local musician Zach Friedhof provided entertainment infused with peace, mindfulness and positivity.  

In advance, I provided teachers with an itinerary of events which included time intervals, event and theme descriptions as well as the pertinent video links with descriptions.

Events and activities included:

A Lego display demonstrating our building's interconnectedness
A large Grinch poster highlighting how students helped the Grinch grow a kind heart
Boards featuring students' Random Acts of Kindness
Classroom Affirmation Posters 
Student-created Positivity Stickers 
Student-generated bandages with healing messages to help soothe a “wrinkled” heart 
A large peace sign filled with the thumbprints of each student 
Colorful and intricate rice mandalas created by each classroom 
Individual yoga video sequences, Kid President videos and uplifting music 

On Friday, students engaged in energizing group activities in the gym. Over in the library, activities included gluten-free lavender "play dough," Zen garden sand trays and yoga-themed coloring pages. Students also made their own granola and learned about healthy food options.  

Expenses totaled $150 which the parent group graciously covered. Local media even came out to cover the Friday festivities. As you can imagine, the building was buzzing with excitement!  

Why am I sharing all this? Well, Yoga Recess Day is coming up again on February 27th, 2015! It’s a great time to introduce yoga and mindfulness to winter-weary students and teachers. I hope reading about my experience will encourage you to think about the possibilities for sharing yoga and mindfulness techniques with your own students and school. You can find loads of resources at Yoga 4 Classrooms

Let us know how it goes!

Want to learn more about integrating yoga and mindfulness into your school? 

Shared by Jen Griest-Hayes, a special-education teacher in a self-contained multiple-disabilities unit at Valley View Elementary in Wadsworth, Ohio and a Certified ChildLight Yoga Instructor and Licensed Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer.

Edited by Amy Taylor, Director of Communications for Yoga 4 Classrooms.

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An Antidote to Teacher Burnout: How Yoga and Mindfulness Can Support Resilience In and Out of the Classroom

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A movement to bring yoga and mindfulness to children is blooming. Many schools have implemented contemplative programming to help kids thrive, and research studies document the positive effects of yoga and mindfulness practices for children. But, what about the teachers, administrators, and other school personnel who work with children on a daily basis?

It’s no secret that teacher burnout is a pressing issue in our educational system. A shocking statistic: nearly one third of all newly recruited teachers are either resigning or reporting burn out in their first 3 to 5 years of professional experience. Gallup’s State Of America’s Schools 2012 Report says nearly 70% of K-12 teachers surveyed do not feel engaged in their work. The study said they are likely to spread their negative attitudes to co-workers and devote minimal discretionary effort to their jobs.

Even more so, 8.7 percent of educators reported major depression symptoms in the NSDUH study. "Teachers have to deal with low starting pay, stressed parents, misbehaving kids, and demanding administrators, all of which are potential threats to emotional health”.

Besides the effects on teachers personally, the teacher stress has also been linked to student achievement, making this an even greater concern. The classroom can be a challenging environment, and everyone in this environment contributes to the success of the educational system.  As a society, we need to be more insightful and proactive in addressing the challenges faced by educators today. After all, a teacher's role cannot be underestimated.

In his classical 1971 book, Dr. Ginott powerfully noted:  "As a teacher, I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal". 

What does research say? 

Among many studies linking yoga and mental health, there is a significant research agenda studying the effects of contemplative practices specifically on teachers.

A recent study published in the Mindfulness Journal by Dr. Patricia Jennings, examined data from early childhood educators on indicators of well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion. The results from the teachers' self-report surveys, independent observations of classroom quality and interviews about the most challenging children in the classroom, suggest that teachers' self-care practices significantly impact their ability to create and maintain effective and supportive classrooms.

A randomized controlled trial led by Dr. Margaret Kemeny found that teachers who participated in an eight-week intensive meditation and emotion regulation training intervention experienced less negative emotions, depressive and anxious thoughts, and were more positive and mindful as compared to the group of teachers who did not take the course. “What’s more, after beginning to meditate, the teachers were also more compassionate and empathetic to others."

In a great video, Dr. Richie Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, reports on his team’s recent study showing that mindfulness meditation fights teacher burnout. "Imagine a teacher in her classroom attempting to teach material that he or she is focused on, and a child has an emotional outburst," Dr. Davidson said. "To some teachers that outburst would really jangle their performance. But others are able to respond appropriately - with the help of mindfulness training”.

Another study published by Drs. Mark Greenberg, Patricia A. Jennings, Jennifer L. Frank, and others, is a randomized controlled trial on the program called Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE for Teachers), which is a mindfulness-based professional development program “designed to reduce stress and  improve teachers' performance and classroom learning environments” . Teachers who participated in the study viewed CARE as a feasible, acceptable, and effective method for reducing stress and improving performance.

What can yoga and mindfulness practices do for school teachers?

Here is a summary of benefits backed up by research, which were also echoed at the 2014 Yoga in Schools Symposium at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health:
- Improved self-awareness of thoughts, emotions, and causes for behaviors
- Improved conflict resolution ability
- Improved empathy and compassion, for self and others
- Reduced stress, burnout, depression and anxiety
- Reduced reactivity and negativity

Many anecdotal accounts also confirm that education professionals long for stress reducing, emotionally balancing self-awareness and mind-body practices. After every school Yoga 4 Classrooms residency program, we ask the participating teachers about their experiences with our program, including the impact of yoga and mindfulness on their own well-being and professional and personal development. Here are just a few quotes from school teachers who attended a Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop and/or who had classrooms where the Yoga 4 Classrooms residency was implemented:

"Teaching is so stressful and hard sometimes. This helps both myself and my students feel more joy and less stress every day. Thank you for sharing this gift!"
“Now I am interested in taking a few yoga classes.  I love the idea of taking a moment with the class and finding Zen within the day.  I find that shared experiences build community."

“Y4C has helped many of my students with anxiety be calmer in certain subject areas and before tests - especially math. It has helped many of my students to be more aware of what helps them be the best they can be. It has really helped me be more patient and calmer, have more energy in the afternoons."

"Practicing yoga in the classroom helps me feel more relaxed. I am more patient with the children. I am able to remain calm during stressful and anxious situations that may occur during the day."

The bottom line is this: it is not enough to teach mindfulness to students - at Yoga 4 Classrooms, we believe school leaders, teachers and other school professionals need to nurture themselves. Embodied contemplative practices can provide an amazing opportunity leading to personal transformation, providing the foundation for systemic transformation. Embracing the concept of self-care and personal mindfulness, teachers will not only improve their own well-being, but also support their classrooms and the larger community.

From our standpoint, there is no doubt teacher health and resilience should be made a priority in education policy. What are your thoughts?

For more information about contemplative practices for educators:

Using Mindfulness for Teacher Wellbeing - Happy Child

Developing Mindfulness for School Leaders - Education Week

Garrison Institute’s CARE for teachers program


Marina Ebert, MA serves as Director of Research and Relationship Development for Yoga 4 Classrooms. She also is a research assistant at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RYT 500, RCYT, is the Founder and Director of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms. Lisa's books include the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck (2011) and Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children (Adams Media, 2013).

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Society of Behavioral Medicine: Elementary Schools to Provide at least 60 min of physical activity

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Did you know that only 4% of elementary schools provide daily physical education and less than half of US schools offer recess? While in its Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (2008) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity for all school aged children, only half of kids meet this guideline.

Shocking as it is, those are the results of two nationwide studies. That is the reason why, last week, the Society of Behavioral Medicine released a powerful statement advocating that elementary schools provide as many of the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to vigorous physical activity during school hours as possible.

In their statement, the SBM provides an impressive list of references to research on benefits of physical exercise on children development, well-being, and academic outcomes. Not only does exercise help children stay healthy, but it also aids kids achieve school success.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a report that showed the positive associations between school-based physical activity and academic performance, has delivered a similar powerful message in 2010. Studies reviewed showed that the in-classroom brief physical activity interventions improved the kids’ “indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behavior, and academic achievement” (p.6).

Supporting the studies on the benefits of physical exercise in general, the studies on school-based yoga for children show improved coordination, focus, and academic achievement.

Recent attempts have been made to investigate the effects of yoga on pediatric obesity and weight management.

A review paper published in 2012 in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal summarized the research on benefits of exercise on such outcomes as obesity, chronic illnesses and mental health among children. The studies reviewed included yoga and tai chi interventions. “A potential underlying mechanism for the positive effects of exercise, yoga and tai chi may be the stimulation of pressure receptors leading to increased vagal activity, decreased stress hormones and increased production of anti-pain and antidepressant neurotransmitters such as serotonin”.

Among the recommended ways to incorporate physical activity into the daily school routine, the SBM mentions “brief bursts of classroom physical activity breaks”, which have been scientifically shown to “improve response time and accuracy on cognitive tasks both during and after physical activity”. Another approach that the SBM enlists involves implementation of the curricula that incorporate exercise as a means for learning, that is, integrate activities with academic learning concepts. This kind of intervention has been shown to improve attention and reading, math, spelling, and composite scores in elementary school children.

Bringing simple and effective yoga curriculum to over 65 schools, Yoga 4 Classrooms fits with both kinds of programs as prescribed by the SBM. Our curriculum is flexible so that teachers can choose to spend as little as one minute or as many as 30 minutes on yoga-based movement in their classrooms. With over 200 activities in the Y4C manual and card deck, there are ample opportunities to boost kids’ learning readiness and infuse yoga fun with basic language learning and math concepts, with the added benefit of social-emotional learning skill building. Once implemented in the school, the program could be expanded to offer both short in-classroom activities, and longer classes during recess and after school.

In addition, Yoga 4 Classrooms meets the national standards for health and fitness education, including National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the CDC's National Health Education Standards (NHES).

The Society of Behavioral Medicine is a multidisciplinary organization of clinicians, educators, and scientists dedicated to promoting the study of the interactions of behavior with biology and the environment, and the application of that knowledge to improve the health and well being of individuals, families, communities and populations.

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Retired Educator Inspired to Become a Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer

Thursday, June 05, 2014


Shelly McGrath, a retired preschool and kindergarten teacher, had been teaching yoga for many years when she decided to research ways to expand her practice. She came across Yoga 4 Classrooms and knew she had found her answer. 

“As a retired classroom teacher and yoga teacher, Yoga 4 Classrooms immediately made a lot of sense to me. It is a clear and concise program that can be implemented in the classroom, as needed, without any special equipment,” says McGrath.

With the training and support she received as a Licensed Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer, McGrath has been inspired and empowered to share what she has learned with educators and children's health advocates in Canada. She sent out over 200 letters to schools and area health organizations along with Yoga 4 Classrooms educational materials. She was also pro-active and successful in obtaining media coverage with the mission of educating the public about the power of yoga and mindfulness in the classroom to support learning, behavior, attention and classroom climate.

While facilitating the Yoga 4 Classrooms residency curriculum in a Grade One class at Buena Vista School in Saskatoon, which is in the Saskatchewan province of Canada, she contacted the local paper. The result was an article in the Star Phoenix.  

"While participating in the Yoga 4 Classrooms training I learned that Lisa Flynn, its founder, is a rare person in that she has the yoga heart and a sharp business mind. She has done all the hard work needed to make Yoga 4 Classrooms trainers successful. No detail has been missed. Anyone who is interested in helping children, educators and schools simply and sustainably integrate yoga and mindfulness techniques into the class day should consider learning more about the Yoga 4 Classrooms program.”

McGrath's outreach led to an invitation by leaders of the federally funded Health Promoting Schools project to offer Yoga 4 Classrooms as a health program option to schools in the city of Saskatoon. To date, she has provided professional development to the staff of  four Health Promoting Schools. She also shared the 10 lesson residency component of the program in each classroom, sometimes teaching five classes per day. "It was a tiring experience at times, but extremely rewarding!"

“I know I can’t help the children I work with with many of the challenges they face, but it feels good to be able to give them the tools to cope with whatever comes their way,” says McGrath. Recently, her work with Health Promoting Schools was featured on a local TV news channel, Go! Saskatoon.

Learn how you can attend a one-day professional development workshop held in 50 locations across the country or online, become a Yoga 4 Classrooms Licensed or Schoolsite Trainer
or bring Yoga 4 Classrooms to your school.

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Yoga in the Schools Symposium: Reflections of a Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The first Yoga in the Schools Symposium
was convened on April 23-25 at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, MA.  The Symposium was an opportunity to be together with others who are working to bring yoga and mindfulness practices to children and teachers in the pre-k-grade12 schools, including:

•    Pre-K-12 Teachers, who are integrating yoga practices into their daily classroom routines
•    Yoga Practitioners, who are teaching yoga to children
•    Developers of yoga programs for children and yoga programs for the classroom
•    Principals and Superintendents, who are integrating yoga practices into their school and /or district curriculum

•    University Professors, who are conducting research studies focused on the questions of: What are the outcomes of integrating yoga and mindfulness practices into the classrooms in public, private and charter schools?  In other words, what are the benefits for children and youth (and for teachers)? What are the best practices/approaches for bringing yoga practices into the pre-k-12 classrooms, as well, for integrating the practices into the school culture?

The first morning’s small group focus questions were: What is your aim regarding yoga in the schools? What are the guiding principles that shape your work? What are the most important guiding principles the group should take away?

On the first afternoon there was a Research Panel. The panel included Researchers from Western Illinois University, University of Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education, John Hopkins University School of Public Health, Research Triangle Institute International, University of Virginia’s School of Education, and Sat Bir Khalsa, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School. (Sat Bir Khalsa, Ph.D. and Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. collaborated with Lisa Flynn and the Yoga 4 Classrooms team to complete the Yoga 4 Classrooms pilot research study: Effects of a Classroom-Based Yoga Intervention on Cortisol and Perceived Behavior in Second- and Third- Grade Students.)

Mark Greenberg, Pennsylvania State University, moderated the panel. Mark and Tish Jennings, University of Virginia are conducting the CALM (Comprehensive Approach to Learning Mindfulness Practices) pilot study. Mark and Tish are testing whether a short daily intervention involving yoga, somatic breathing, intention-setting and caring practices results in reduced psychological and physiological symptoms related to stress and burnout among school teachers.

Andrea Hyde, Professor at Western Illinois University has been conducting qualitative research.  Both quantitative and qualitative research approaches are critically important to contributing to the development of evidence-based yoga practices. Qualitative research is focused on the narrative— listening to the stories of the research participants— and noticing the patterns and themes in the stories to form hypotheses that can be applied and potentially generalized to a broader population. Andrea shared the importance of conducting qualitative research that works towards honoring and being informed by the data from teachers’ stories. To hear the essence of each story that can inform the practices we are teaching children and youth, and the essence of each story that can inform the way school yoga programs are framed and developed.

Andrea’s thinking brought to my mind Lisa Flynn’s story of how she developed the Childlight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms programs. As well, it brought to mind Susan Kaiser Greenland’s story of how she began developing mindfulness practices for children.  To paraphrase from Susan’s book, The Mindful Child—How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder and More Compassionate, Susan began developing mindfulness for kids on a day when she was watching her own child and his friend lose their ability to be calm. She took a snow globe down from a bookshelf and began winding up the music box at its base. She shook the snow globe, put it down on a table, put her hand on her abdomen, and asked her son and his friend to put their hands on their tummies. Together they felt their breaths move up and down as they watched the snow settle in the globe. When the snow settled to the bottom, she shook it again. As they watched the water in the globe gradually clear, they felt themselves breathing. After a short while, the boys’ breathing had slowed; their bodies had relaxed and calmed. Then they could talk about what had upset them…Susan is the founder of the “Inner Kids” program affiliated with the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA.  
On the afternoon of the second day there was a School Leader panel. The panel included: Tracy Affonso, Newton Public School System teacher and Yoga 4 Classrooms Licensed Trainer, Timothy Baird, Superintendent, Encinitas (California) Union School District, Scott Himelstein, Director, Center for Education Policy and Law at University of San Diego and former deputy secretary of education for the State of California, Deborah Hoffman, Principal, Lincoln Elementary, Madison, Wisconsin School, and Alan Johnson, Superintendent, Woodland Hills School District, Pittsburgh, PA

Tish Jennings, Associate Professor at the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia, moderated the panel. Tish, Mark Greenberg, Richard Brown and Christa Turksma developed the CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Educators) for teachers program. Tish is a former Montessori early childhood teacher.

It was a comprehensive discussion that brought together stories of the strategies and approaches of school leaders who have developed and integrated yoga programs into their schools. Given that Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer, Tracy Affonso, was representing direct service in the classroom, I thought her stories were particularly grounding. She shared stories of how yoga practices have effected her children’s ability to self-regulate, to focus, to plan and to problem solve. She shared how integrating the practices of yoga into her classroom community have affected both her ability to teach and her children's ability to learn. Her stories related how incorporating yoga into the daily life of her classroom has effected the children’s relationships with each other and her relationship with the children.

In closing, I would like to summarize the threads of discussion from the symposium that noted the importance of:

•    Defining yoga: creating a common description of the components and the intentions of the practices being offered in the secular school setting, for research, implementation, and sustainability purposes.
•    Honoring /respecting the authority of teachers’ voices as they share stories of their experiences and their students’ experience.

•    Seeing yoga, mindfulness practices, contemplative practices, and social emotional learning (SEL) through a lens of their similarities, rather than through a lens of their distinctions or differences, i.e. as approaches for supporting the growth and development of the whole child rooted in the mind-body connection.  

•    Seeing yoga, contemplative practices and SEL* curricula as approaches and/or teaching strategies, which can contribute to creating the conditions that can foster a culture of well being for all children and youth. In addition, as approaches that can promote a school culture that supports teacher self care.

•    Bringing this work to pre-service student teachers.

Esther Brandon, M.S.Ed
Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer

* The Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (C.A.S.E.L), has developed SEL competencies that are available on the C.A.S.E.L. website.

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Mindfulness in Schools: What Research Tells Us

Saturday, October 19, 2013

With growing concern in the society on finding ways to improve mental well-being, including the ability to focus, ability to constructively reflect, and ability to choose most adaptable strategies to cope with stress, mindfulness has become the hot and timely topic.

At the forefront of school-based programming, mindfulness and yoga curricula are not only highly beneficial, but also affordable ways to improve school outcomes - see more on this discussion in recent Forbes Magazine's article.

Now Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley brings us the research round up of the most recent scientific papers published on school-based mindfulness programs.

Emily Campbell of Greater Good Science Center writes:

"The last decade has seen a huge spike in secular applications of mindfulness, the practice of focusing our attention on our thoughts, feelings, and environment in the present moment. While the first wave of mindfulness-based programs were for adults, more recent efforts have targeted the well-being of children and adolescents; as a result, mindfulness programs in schools are becoming more and more widespread.

But until recently, “enthusiasm for promoting such practices [outweighed] the current evidence supporting them,” to quote a 2012 review of the research on mindfulness practices with children and youth.

That has changed in the past year with a spate of new studies: Researchers have been aggressively testing the effectiveness of school-based mindfulness programs, and they are starting to publish their results."

To read the article in full, visit the Greater Good Science Center website.

Other notable articles on cognitive benefits of mindfulness for kids:

Can Mindfulness Really Help You Focus, Time Magazine, March 2013
Forget Delayed Gratification: What Kids Really Need Is Cognitive Control, Time Magazine, October 2013
Tips for Teaching Mindfulness to Kids, Greater Good Science Center, May 2010

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Making an Impact: 50 schools and 22,000 students served

Monday, September 23, 2013

We are thrilled to announce that as of Fall 2013, Yoga 4 Classrooms has directly served an estimated 5,000 school children in nearly 50 schools via the 10-week in-classroom residency and/or training for the entire school staff.

In addition, over 1000 educators have been trained privately by attending the Y4C Professional Development Workshop (on location or online) designed to give them the tools to share yoga and mindfulness-based activities in their own classrooms from year to year. That amounts to an estimated 22,000 children reached each year!

This fall, 4 new schools in New Hampshire and Vermont have begun implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms with a professional development workshop for the entire school staff, the program’s 10-week in-classroom residency and parent education through a kick-off event and weekly family letters.

All components of the program are carefully designed and tested to ensure long-term program sustainability in the school. In many cases, Licensed Trainers and Schoolsite Trainers work together in the school before and after implementation to ensure longevity and ongoing support.

Learn more about becoming a Y4C School.

Here is what others say about Y4C in schools and more testimonials on our website:

"Yoga 4 Classrooms seems to be the missing link our schools need to bring all types of learners together.  Present, grounded and ready to learn!" J Gauer, ADHD Coach

"The techniques in Y4C are like a gift...for my students and myself."  K Kinneen, Classroom Teacher

"Our goal is to create opportunities for kids to be successful. This program teaches kids to let go of things — stress, anxiety — and move on. Math and reading are important, but students need these life skills as well.”  Peterborough Elementary School Principal

Also, check out the great stories about two Y4C Schools covered by mass media: Greater Catholic School Board in Saskatoon, Canada and  Peterborough Elementary School in New Hampshire.

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Y4C card deck now included in cost of Professional Development Workshop

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Yoga 4 Classrooms is pleased to announce the inclusion of the Y4C card deck with Y4C Professional Development Workshop's $180.00 registration fee. That's a savings of $32.00!

The card deck is the perfect companion to the 230-page illustrated Yoga 4 Classrooms® Manual. The 6x8 card deck highlights the 67 yoga and mindfulness activities, including illustrated instructions, discussion points, educational tie-ins, sub-activities for a total of more than 200 beneficial classroom practices. All activities can be done standing beside or sitting at desks, while bodies and hands remain off the floor, away from dirt and germs. The cards include a mix of yoga postures, brain boosting movements, breath exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement and community-building games. Also included are wellness and character-building discussion points such as the power of positive thinking, nutrition, and being a peacemaker, addressing the whole child – physical, social and emotional.

Currently offered in 15 states, this one day  workshop is appropriate for all K-12 classroom teachers (with special focus on primary school), administrators, school counselors, phys ed teachers, health educators, therapists, paraprofessionals and other school professionals seeking to bring simple yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom or similar setting for a more peaceful, productive class day.

Professional Development Workshop's Tuition of $180 now includes:

  •   6 hr. interactive workshop (includes 45 min. lunch or dinner break)
  •   Fully-illustrated, tabbed, 230 pg. Y4C® Program Manual
  •   Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck, the popular classroom tool which supplements this program
  •   PDP or CEUs and possible reimbursement from your school
  •   Certificate of Completion

Learn what others are saying and join us to see for yourself:

“Thank you! What a great workshop! It felt great to de-stress too!” - Reading Specialist

"So many ways to benefit students, calming, focusing, energizing. I am hoping to see a strong benefit for the students with special needs.” - Special Education Elementary Para educator

“I have a student with ADHD and I am always looking for new techniques to help this student with focus, control and relaxation. I am so excited to begin!” - 1st Grade Teacher

”I never thought I would like yoga, but after taking this workshop and realizing all the benefits, I really enjoy it!” - 1st Grade Teacher

"I was not familiar at all with any types of yoga, when I read the description that this was a yoga to benefit children in the classroom and needed no special equipment and on the floor activities I was interested. I wanted another positive avenue to use with my students. Great workshop! I am so looking forward to using this relaxation, transition, exciting pump up with my children.” - 1st Grade teacher 

 Learn more and register! 

Can't find a workshop near you? Check out our online version and do the workshop any time at your convenience.

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Forbes: How Yoga Could Help Keep Kids In School

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How can trauma-informed mindfulness practices at school, aka, YOGA, help kids stay in school, stopping up the 'school to prison pipeline', saving us trillions of dollars? Just ask Forbes Magazine.

How inspiring and encouraging it is to see a major business publication focus on yoga as an effective transformative practice promoting stress resilience in children. Why the interest? It's becoming increasingly clear that mind-body practices can improve self-awareness while promoting positive life skills ultimately leading to less violence and incarceration and higher graduation rates...and that translates to startling cost savings, both human and economic.

Powerful math described by BK Bose, PhD of Niroga Institute, shows that the practice of mindful yoga can address many issues we face in education and economy, including the high costs to society resulting from increasing school drop out rates and juvenile crime.

"This is about more than just mindfulness,” says Bose. “It’s about the integration of these modalities. This is not some feel good, foo-foo practice from the Himalayas. This is based in cutting edge neuroscience, trauma research, and in somatic psychology. This is vital to ensure our well-being, and to our economy.  Let’s come together under the banner of transformative practices, and put forward the essence of yoga, not the hype. This is simple. Anyone can do this, anytime, anywhere. If you can move, if you can breathe, then you can do the practice.”

This is a must-read article - please follow the link directly to it to

As well, we'd like to mention some of our colleagues in the field cited in the article, who are doing a wonderful work as it relates to growing this movement:

Niroga Institute and Transformative Life Skills
Give Back Yoga Foundation
Yoga Service Council
Holistic Life Foundation


Read the full article here.

More news on yoga and mindfulness in schools:

Mindfulness Programs In Schools Reduce Symptoms Of Depression Among Adolescents: Study - Huffington Post
Reading, Writing and Mindfulness
Meditating with Kids - Greater Good Science Center
Congressman Tim Ryan - Mindful Nation

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Bringing yoga to the classroom, Yoga Therapy Today

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our article, "Bringing yoga to the classroom: Tools for learning, lessons for life", has been published in the Summer issue of the Yoga Therapy Today, a publication of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

In this article, we argue that "a well-researched and properly designed program implementing yoga at school typically provides consistent repetition of key activities and concepts. This is achieved through systematic integration of activities into the class day as necessary to produce long-term effects on children, ultimately providing a foundation for lifelong well-being."

We offer specific advice to yoga teachers interested in implementing yoga in their community's schools, and share one of our effective pre-writing or writing break yoga sequences.

Overall, we encourage teachers to follow the core principles in rolling out their yoga in schools: prepare, invite, serve. These are keys to the successful and sustainable implementation of yoga programming in schools.

We hope this article inspires you to further investigate and support the movement to bring yoga to school, and learning about the ways to do this important work.

You can download the full Yoga Therapy Today article and learn more about our research and conference activities, presentations and publications by reading our Special Issue newsletter.

We have recently presented our research study results at the Symposium on Yoga Research in Boston, MA, and shared our work at the presentation during the annual American School Counselor Association in Philadelphia, PA.

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