Beautiful changes in the classroom after children's yoga
Being a qualified yoga teacher, I lead classes in and around Nottingham to a variety of different people - children included!
In the words of Whitney Houston,
”Teach them well and let them lead the way”
I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to have worked with hundreds of school children teaching yoga in Nottingham. I can certainly tell you - they keep me on my toes and encourage me to think about yoga in a different way.
Their energy and vitality is something we can all learn from.
I have also had the pleasure of working in collaboration with some very wonderful teams of school teachers.
Lots of people are interested in my work as a yoga teacher and ask what differences it makes for the children. Who better to ask than one of the lovely angels who looks after 25 8-year-olds every day?
I asked her if she could tell me a little bit about any differences she saw in her classroom as a result of the children working with me each week for 12 weeks in the summer of 2018.
As the class teacher, I feel that the sessions have benefited the children in terms of keeping calm throughout the school day and it has also boosted their overall self-esteem and self-worth.
It is wonderful to see the children discussing elements of yoga practice in class and reminding each other (and me if I'm sitting a bit slumped at my desk!) to 'use their sitting bones' and to remember to breathe if a situation is becoming a little cross or frustrating.
I feel that yoga has benefited a child with ASC (Autism Spectrum Conditions)
in particular as we remind him to use the breathing techniques that he has learnt in yoga to diffuse situations or to calm himself down. I have also made a conscious effort to incorporate elements of yoga into the school day and I feel that taking even just a few minutes out of the day to discuss what makes us happy/unique etc each day has had a real impact on the children's overall well-being and happiness in school.
I have had parents comment about the yoga sessions saying how much the children have enjoyed the sessions and for a few children, they went home and taught their siblings / parents different yoga poses too!
When speaking to the children, all 25 children in Year 3 said that they looked forward to the yoga sessions and loved taking part. They said that yoga helps them to feel relaxed and calm, that it is fun and that they wished they could do it every week!
All children said that they look forward to taking part in yoga and feel happy when they are both in the class and when they leave for home time.
They also said that yoga has helped them to realise how special they are.
I was so pleased to read Miss Ratcliffe’s words.
Children these days have different kinds of challenges that we probably didn’t have when we were growing up (I am a child of the late seventies). There is a greater number of separated or blended families than perhaps we experienced and their social world is far different - for some a lot of their social interaction, like it or not, is online playing computer games with their friends. The flip-side of this is that for some, any issues with bullying does not finish at the end of the school day where they can retreat to their safe space of their bedroom, it can continue online as well.
The poor poppets.
Navigating strong emotions or exceptional circumstances can be difficult for some and I always try to incorporate and teach coping mechanisms that they can use themselves to calm themselves down, to help themselves when they have trouble getting to sleep or to help regain their focus during school tests.
Indeed, these changes are being acknowledged all over by forward-thinking educators committed to the holisitc wellbeing of children and the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP brought the issue to Parliament as reported by The Daily Telegraph in 2016.
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