We are excited to share the latest blog post from the Yoga Activist's Yoga & Our Health column contributed by Jennifer Mueller, Licensed Yoga 4 Classrooms® Trainer.
The outreach work of the Yoga Activist is centered around building connections between qualified yoga instructors, social service providers, government agencies and communities that have little or no access to the science of yoga and its use as a self-empowerment tool. This is accomplished through a national yoga activist database, national and local city chapters working directly in communities, trainings, and through providing educational and fund raising materials.
We encourage you to take a closer look at the work they do in this organization and resources they offer for yoga community, and get as inspired as we are!
Below is a reprint of Jennifer's Yoga Activist post:
I’ve taught extra-curricular and enrichment yoga classes in a variety of settings: public and private schools, for children just turning 2 to 12 years. In nearly all cases, the teachers I’ve worked with are huge advocates of yoga for their students. Not only do these teachers know their kids enjoy their weekly yoga break, they see the benefits first hand.
Among the most often mentioned benefits of yoga for children by their teachers are that yoga:
- relieves tension and stress, something teachers are very concerned about as standardized testing requirements continue to grow,
- increases concentration, focus, and attention span,
- expands imagination and creativity,
- improves ability to be less reactive, more mindful of thoughts, words, and actions,
- builds confidence and self-esteem,
- enhances team skills and social interaction,
- encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle.
(Read Yoga 4 Classrooms’ full list of Benefits of Yoga for Children)
In you live near D.C., you can join me at the upcoming professional development workshop and learn how to make yoga part of the school day: October 27th from 2-8 p.m. at Christ Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Why Yoga 4 Classrooms?
Yoga 4 Classrooms is not studio yoga adapted for a school setting. There’s no pushing aside of desks and chairs; no unrolling of yoga mats; no removing of shoes; and no 30 or 40 minute yoga class. Yoga 4 Classrooms is yoga integrated throughout the school day.
Right at their desks, students can bring their body, mind, and breath together using adapted-for-the-classroom yoga postures and developmentally-appropriate mindfulness and meditation exercises. A 30-second breathing exercise can center an entire room. A 2-minute motor break can invigorate and focus a class for a quiz. A 5- or 10-minute activity can relax, distress, enliven, build confidence, create community, and more, depending on the needs of the group and the exercises chosen.
Yoga 4 Classrooms is an evidence-based, low-cost, simple, effective and sustainable tool designed for classrooms, which facilitates students’ physical, mental, emotional and social personal growth. Y4C is anchored in well-validated evidence-based classroom pedagogies, developmental science, cross-sectional research in cognitive affective neuroscience, tenets of positive psychology and secular contemplative practices.
On October 27, I will host an interactive one-day Yoga 4 Classrooms professional development workshop open to all classroom teachers, administrators, school counselors, phys ed teachers, health educators, therapists and others seeking to bring simple yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom or similar setting for a more peaceful, productive class day.
We’ll cover a classroom-appropriate mix of yoga-based motor breaks, brain boosting movements, breath exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement and community-building games. We’ll explore wellness and character-building discussion points such as the power of positive thinking, nutrition and being a peacemaker, which address the whole child and also many school initiatives such as bullying prevention, health and wellness and social and emotional education.
Teachers who implement Yoga 4 Classrooms usually report that taking as little as 30 seconds to 5 minutes to practice these simple tools throughout the day helps their class community learn to self-regulate, leading to a more positive, peaceful, productive school day…not to mention happier, more resilient students.
Each workshop participant receives a fully-illustrated, full-color Y4C teacher’s manual, ensuring the program is both easy to use and sustainable for long-term use. No yoga attire or mat will be needed because we will be simulating the classroom setting. Join me on October 27th from 2-8pm at Christ Church on Capitol Hill for the first Yoga 4 Classrooms workshop in Washington, DC.
Jennifer Mueller is a Washington, D.C. yoga instructor (RYT-200, RCYT). Like so many, Jen first came to the yoga mat because of an injury, seeking nothing more than to feel better and balance her body for running. She comes back to the mat because yoga invites her to embrace her body and mind with all its imperfections and then to look beyond them to the greater Self. Jen brings a sense of joy and playfulness to her classes – both the adult and kids classes – and hopes to offer her students the sense of freedom she finds in yoga.