Even though there are numerous health and academic benefits to using yoga in the classroom, it still isn't something that is common for students and teachers to practice during the school day. If you've thought of using yoga in the classroom before but weren't really sure you could do it, we've got a list of reasons why incorporating yoga into your lesson plans is important and some great tips for getting started.
Reasons to Use Yoga in the Classroom
- Yoga provides students with healthy ways to express their emotions and behavior.
- Yoga encourages a more relaxed, peaceful state of mind and eases feeling of anxiety and fear.
- Yoga improves memory, focus, and clarity—all of which transfers into improved academic performance.
- Yoga encourages community within the school and classroom.
- Yoga encourages gross motor development.
- Yoga has been shown to reduce impulsivity by focusing on reflection and patience.
- Purchase yoga mats that are easy to clean, and keep them stored in an easily accessible place for students in the classroom.
- Designate a time during the day to practice yoga as a class. Try to choose a time in which there are not likely to be many distractions for yourself or your students.
- Plan on modeling yoga poses for your students. If you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with yoga yourself, there are many child-friendly demonstration videos and cards you can use to teach the poses instead.
- Remember to encourage participation over mastery—the main focus is on encouraging students to breathe, be mindful, and to relax their minds. A perfect pose is not the most important goal.
- Follow your yoga session with an activity that is educational yet still quiet and reflective. For example, journal writing and independent reading would both be great follow-up activities.
Unlike many sports, yoga is accessible to all students and is an easily modifiable physical activity that the whole class can participate in. Research the different poses you can implement in your yoga sessions, and be sure to check out our selection of yoga materials for the classroom.