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Sunday, August 4, 2019


Make this A YOGA YEAR by incorporating some of these strategies. Yoga has health benefits, as well as learning benefits. "Mindfulness" is a buzz word now in education, and yoga might be just the trick to help children focus and relax.

Yoga Letters
There are several videos where yoga poses are related to the alphabet.  Wouldn't it be fun to incorporate yoga poses with phonics?  Here's a poster that you can download free:


Yoga Shapes
I loved the yoga poses for kids I found on this website:

Monument Poses
Linda Smith shared this idea for tying in MONUMENT POSES with social studies standards.

Statue of Liberty – One arm up holding the torch and the other arm holding a book with feet apart.
Washington Monument – Feet together and arms up and with pointed fingers.
Honest Abe – Sitting position with arms out as if on a chair.
Mount Rushmore – Legs apart with chin under fist and switch sides.
The Arch – Arms in an arc twice overhead.
Liberty Bell – Arms down swinging side to side as you say, “Bong, bong, bong, crack!”

Superhero Yoga
And, wouldn’t your students love doing this Superhero Yoga that Charley Schillinger does with her students?
Superman – Do a plank.
Wonder Woman – Sit in an invisible chair.
Spiderman – Feet together and squat.
Batman – Arms out and one leg up.

Captain America -  Squat with legs apart and stretch arms over head and behind as if extending a shield.
Flash Lunges - One foot in front and lean forward and touch the floor.
Black Widow - Take turns stretching out your arms.
Iron Man Pose - Stand straight and look up towards the sky.

Here's here blog so you can learn more about it:


Morning Stretch
Several teachers have told me how my “Morning Stretch” really helps their students focus and get ready to start each day.

Here are some personal insights on yoga from my friend Drew Giles:

As a certified yoga instructor for both adults and kids, I have learned firsthand the benefits of teaching yoga and mindfulness to kids. Yoga is the coming together of mind (thoughts and feelings) and physical body. It’s a form of tactile and kinesthetic learning, which is the most basic child-centric learning style. Yoga can enable your students (and yourself!) to be more attentive and focused for learning. As a quick energizer, even one yoga pose done with purposeful breathing for just one minute will oxygenate the blood and lift the energy level of your students. Contrary to sceptics, yoga is not a religion. The practice of yoga was built on spirituality and the promotion of being kind and compassionate towards yourself and others. It is not a religion and does not judge religions.

Some of the benefits include: 
       Increases self-esteem
       Improves behavior, less discipline problems
       Invites a calm atmosphere
       Increases physical and mental awareness
       Provides opportunity for discovery and fun
       Improves motor development on both sides of the body
       Relieves stress, anxiety and anger
       Improves self-control

In a School Setting, yoga can also benefit educators by:
       Giving educators an alternate way to handle challenges in the classroom
       Giving educators a healthy activity to integrate with lesson plans
       Gives educators a way to blend exerciseinto their classes

Ready to incorporate yoga in your classroom?!  Here are a few fun tips.
·     Make the yoga class fun! Let go of thinking what a traditional yoga class may look like. A kids’ yoga class is all about moving in mindful and silly ways, learning how to pay attention to the breath and having a good time.
·     Follow the children’s lead. Most yoga poses were created to celebrate the world around us. Ask the kids to come up with poses for common animals or things they see in nature. 
·     Be flexible and come up with a thoughtful lesson plan.
·     Kids yoga should be voluntary; never force children to do yoga. If a few kids are not interested, simply allow them to watch the class do yoga.
·     Give clear and concise verbal and visual directions.

How to come up with a simple yoga lesson plan:
·      Start your yoga session by creating a safe and friendly environment
·     Focus on the breath, it’s a great way to transition from spending time on the playground or coming back from lunch.
·     Next, moving into warms ups – stretch side to side or stand in a tabletop position on hands and needs, arch the back like a cat with your head looking at your belly button, lower your belly, look up as you breathe in like a cow staring at the sky.
·     Focus on the body, you can do some sun salutations and build heat in your body. This allows your body to breakdown stagnant fluids and bring in new, nutrient-rich cells.
·     After 5-10 minutes of body work, move into a cool down, long stretches – see if you can touch your shins, ankles or toes! 
·     Finally, reap in the benefits by laying down motionless on your mat of the floor. This is an essential part of yoga and should never be skipped

A few last tips for success:
·     Learn and practice the lesson plan before you teach it.
·     Be prepared with extra activities. You never know which ideas may be a flop or a hit.
·     Start slow – when first introducing yoga to the class – offer a few, simple movements during a transition period and build the amount of time up to 45 minutes! Yes, it’s possible!
·     Be present and have a positive attitude. The kids will feed off your energy.
·     Appreciate and enjoy the kids where they are at. Always phrase assistance positively like "How about this way?" or "Let's do this!" 

There are a lot of great resources out there. Pinterest, Omazing Kids LLC, Kidding Around Yoga, Kids Yoga Stories are a few of my favorites. I did my kids yoga teaching certificate through Next Generation Yoga. Hint! They offer current educators a 50% discount! (Tell them Drew sent you!) 

Reach out to me if you have any questions.