Kids are in school to learn, right? In theory... yes. Children want to learn. Teachers want to teach. But too often, the theoretic formula of, "go to school + work hard = successful student" does not add up. Yoga in Schools can help bridge this gap. Yoga in schools helps kids learn.
When you give something your undivided attention - you are fully present and far more likely to absorb the experience. The problem is, how often do we give something our undivided attention?! We're constantly battling all kinds of internal and external distractions. People and events around us are unpredictable and uncontrollable; and our own feelings, thoughts, and emotions arise at the most inconvenient times - taking our focus away from the task at hand. My brain is in constant motion - that driver didn't put their blinker on, I wonder where she got her shoes, I'm tired, I have to go grocery shopping, I'm hungry, I forgot to let the dog out, did I lock the door? did I even shut the door? These thoughts happen while I'm driving, while I'm with my kids, while I'm 'sleeping', while I'm cooking, all. the. time. I'm an adult who has a fully developed brain and years of training in mindfulness - and I still struggle to stay on task. All minds wander - including (and especially) kids minds' - are my friends talking about me, what am I doing after school today, I'm hungry, I can't wait for recess, I hate recess, I forgot we have a test after lunch, what is for lunch? We have to teach kids (and ourselves) to mindfully notice, observe, and be aware of when we are stuck in the past or worried about the future. Mindfulness brings you to the present moment. When kids are present, they are more likely to learn.
Kids Yoga is effective because kids learn by moving - by DOING. How a person learns is as unique as their fingerprint. Each student comes to school with their own set of background knowledge, unique strengths, and varied interests. Sitting at a desk, listening, and working independently does not reach all learners. Considering an approach in line with Universal Design for Learning - yoga reaches ALL learning styles. Students can share about their weekend trip to the zoo with a yoga adventure; they can learn to retell a story by creating a yoga sequence; they can learn geometry by noticing shapes in their bodies; and the lessons in science, health, wellness, and social skills are imbedded in every second of yoga. The connection to nature, animals, and the world are full of ease, curiosity, and excitement. Kids can follow yoga verbally, visually, AND kinesthetically. Every body can do it and there's no way to do it wrong. Participating fully in a yoga class, with their body, brain, and breath creates an experience - a memory that lasts longer than a lesson. "Kids may not remember what they said. They will always remember how you made them feel"
Last, but not least, yoga in schools teaches kids YOGA! Kids yoga classes teach students about the union of their body (poses), brain (mindfulness), and breath (coping and calming strategies). Schools are reporting a notable decrease in social/emotional skills, self-awareness, self-esteem, self-confidence, and ability to self-regulate. These reports are in correlation (or maybe causation) with an increase in anxiety, depression, diagnoses, behavior, and bullying. Kids yoga skillfully and mindfully teaches all students how to build strength, flexibility, and balance while still being fun, playful, and developmentally appropriate. (And to be clear - building strength, flexibility, and balance is in their body, brain, AND heart). These are all invaluable techniques when thinking about kids in life today. By learning about themselves, yoga naturally informs the whole child - the whole self - esteem, confidence, regulation, compassion.
Breathe and Play Kids Yoga can be a stand alone curriculum or a wonderful compliment to other health, wellness, social/emotional, and academic curricula. The results are clear and many - yoga in schools helps kids learn.