Yoga 4 Classrooms®

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Yoga 4 Classrooms Blog

CBS News reports Yoga in school showing results.

Monday, December 05, 2011

CBS News reports Yoga in school showing results. Suspensions are down, test scores are up and students are feeling focused and content.

"95% of our students report that after yoga they feel more ready to learn."

"It's part of our everyday curriculum."

Watch / Read more...




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New User-Friendly Card Deck Makes Yoga Easy and Accessible for Teachers, Moms, Kids and Others

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cards Support Nationally Recognized Yoga 4 Classrooms Program

And Help Provide Optimal Learning Environment, Peaceful Classrooms

 
November 2011 (Dover, NH) --
Science has shown and educators have experienced first-hand that when children are anxious, frustrated or stressed, it is nearly impossible for them to learn. It is only from a relaxed, calm and present state of mind and body that children can be psychologically and physiologically learning-ready. 

With that in mind, ChildLight Yoga, creators of the innovative Yoga 4 Classrooms program, has drawn on its 10 years of experience to produce a new tool: the new Yoga 4 Classrooms Activity Card Deck can be used by teachers, students, parents, and counselors.  No prior yoga experience is required.

 “We found a real need in schools all over the country for tools that teachers, counselors and kids could use within the classroom setting to alleviate frustration and provide the most favorable environment for learning and growth,” said Lisa Flynn, founder of ChildLight Yoga.  “We used what we learned to create this easy to use set of tools that can be applied in any classroom, or by any parent or counselor.  The positive feedback we have received so far has been very gratifying.”

The 67 illustrated activities in the colorful deck were specially chosen for their suitability for the typical classroom space, and can all 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. There are also wellness and character-building discussion points, such as the power of positive thinking, nutrition, and being a peacemaker, that address the whole child – physical, social and emotional.

 

Activities fall into six categories: 

Let’s Breathe: helps calm and center, or empower and energize.

At Your Desk: provides physical relief from long periods of sitting, improves focus, and keeps body systems functioning efficiently.

Stand Strong: provides simple, structured opportunities to stand up, stretch, balance and strengthen.

Loosen Up: dispels stress through energetic release or introspection and focus.
Imagination Vacation:
offers child-friendly approaches to meditation through guided visualization, helping students bring their awareness to the present moment, which is the necessary state for learning.
Be Well:
offers a framework for child-friendly discussions on topics supporting health and wellness.

 

About Yoga 4 Classrooms

In 2007, Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT and founder of ChildLight Yoga, was inspired by the classroom teachers she encountered to create a yoga and mindfulness-based program focused on the whole child that would also be appropriate for the classroom setting. After three and a half years of research, development and test piloting, Yoga 4 Classrooms™ was born.  Yoga 4 Classrooms helps children develop the self-awareness to realize how they feel and what they need; teaches them strategies to slow down, unwind and manage their emotions; guides them through movements that optimize their strength, flexibility and balance; demonstrates healthy habits; and reminds them to love and forgive themselves. Yoga 4 Classrooms provides students with tools for learning and lessons for life.  For more information, visit http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/


MEDIA INQUIRIES: Susan Harrison/HFS Communications
617.285.9766 /susan@hfscommunications.com

WHOLESALE  INQUIRIES: Lisa Flynn / ChildLight Yoga & Yoga 4 Classrooms
603-781-3323 /lisa@childlightyoga.com




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Our Story and an Invitation to Join the School Yoga Movement

Saturday, November 05, 2011

My name is Lisa Flynn, founder of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms

Someone recently asked me why it is I do what I do.  What exactly brought me to this life's mission to see yoga integrated into education such that every child can benefit from the practice?  I could have cited research, talked about my teaching experiences, given a speech on how important it is. Instead, I found myself telling a story.   

Since finding my way to yoga in the 90's, I can’t count the number of times I have said to myself, “If I had only had these tools when I was a child, I wonder if adolescence, early adulthood, and beyond would have been a little less painful?” To many who practice yoga, this is an all too familiar question as it's certainly not unique to experience trauma and suffering at a young age. For me, it was followed up by an eating disorder and depression in college years, from which (fortunately) I came out triumphantly on the other side. Years later, though I was successful in my career as a Marketing Director and had started a beautiful family, I found myself searching for a greater purpose in my life. Specifically, I wanted to help others avoid, or at least healthfully navigate, the suffering I had experienced in my early years. And better still, to help all children navigate the everyday "traumas" of school, homework, broken friendships, life. But how?

A decade ago, I noticed that when my then toddler-age children would join my morning yoga practice, our connection and bond was improved through our practice together. We began to use a common language of wellness. “When we start to become frustrated, we can practice Balloon Breath”, and so forth. I went on to search my local area for children's yoga classes and came up empty-handed. The lightbulb came on and my personal journey with yoga and yoga for children soon became a full-time adventure. ChildLight Yoga was officially founded in 2005, and has been providing yoga-based classes and programs to children and families in the ME/NH Seacoast area ever since. The nationally-recognized ChildLight Yoga Teacher Training program was launched shortly thereafter.

While volunteer teaching in a local elementary school in early 2007, I was inspired and challenged by the classroom teachers I encountered to create a yoga-based program focused on the whole child that would also be appropriate for the classroom setting. After three and a half years of research (including our involvement with an ongoing study with UMass Lowell), development and test piloting, Yoga 4 Classrooms™ was born.

Yoga provides vital therapeutic benefits for children. And healthy kids make better, happier students.  This is our foundational philosophy and motivation.

ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms are evidence-based programs focused on providing children with strategies that build the resilience they need to adapt to the busy, outcome-based world in which they live. Breathing, movement, mindful awareness, and affirmation are some of many strategies we utilize to promote adaptibility, self-regulation, self-esteem, courage, a healthy body and a calm, confident, learning-ready mind. This is important - necessary - work, and we invite you to join the many adults who work so effectively to offer the benefits of a holistically healthy lifestyle to children.

Join the Movement!


Yoga 4 Classrooms offers:

One-Day Professional Development Workshops for Educators

In-Service Workshops for Schools

Classroom Residency Program for Schools

Opportunities for yoga teachers, educators and school guidance counselors and similar to train to be Y4C Instructors.

And now, after 3 years in development, we are also thrilled to offer our first product, the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck, a supporting or stand-alone resource for classroom teachers, parents, therapists, yoga teachers, and others who support the health and wellness of children.

Yoga 4 Classrooms helps children develop the self-awareness to realize how they feel and what they need; teaches them strategies to slow down, unwind and manage their emotions; guides them through movements that optimize their strength, flexibility and balance; demonstrates healthy habits; and reminds them to love and forgive themselves. Y4C provides students with tools for learning, and lessons for life.

I invite you to look around the website and learn more about how you can make a difference by bringing Yoga 4 Classrooms to the schools in your own community. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. I look forward to connecting with you.

Lisa Flynn
Yoga 4 Classrooms & ChildLight Yoga
603-781-3323
lisa@childlightyoga.com




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Yoga Recess Teacher Grant Opportunity: Apply to Attend Yoga 4 Classrooms Workshop

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

ATTENTION EDUCATORS! Interested in attending a Yoga 4 Classrooms Teacher Workshop? Apply for the Yoga Recess Teacher Grant! All school teachers are encouraged to enter by answering the question: How would you use $500 - $1000 to integrate yoga into your classroom?

Send a 250 word essay to essay@yoga-recess.org by December 4th, 2011. Candidates who are chosen to move forward will be announced on December 19th. These candidates will create a video and submit it to Yoga Recess by January 16th. Voting will take place on Facebook from January 22 - 31st to determine the grant recipient!

Good luck!




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Diets in Review.com: Yoga in the Classroom

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reprinted with permission from www.dietsinreview.com.  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.  




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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/dcram@seacoastonline.com

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.

TO HELP

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.




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Seacoast Yoga Community Seeks Donations for Kittery Schools Wellness Program

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 www.yoga4classrooms.com.




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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)




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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 http://www.saagara.com!

You can also read more about yoga on our yoga health guides page below: http://www.saagara.com/health-guides/exercise




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Upcoming One-Day Professional Development Workshops

Monday, June 13, 2011

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


PHILADELPHIA, PA
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!)

WILMINGTON, NC
Date:  Monday, August 8, 2011
Time:  10am - 4pm (lunch 12:30-1:15pm)
Location:
Wilmington Yoga Center, Wilmington, NC
Registration Deadline: July 22
PLEASE REGISTER DIRECTLY WITH WILMINGTON YOGA CENTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP: 910-350-0234.

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

DOVER, NH
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

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

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





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