Contributed by Catherine Bushell & Kelsey McLaughlin (Teacher Candidates)
We tweeted about Moksha Yoga Kids yoga classes designed to promote mental and physical health through basic yoga poses and imagination. These classes help children ages 5-12 develop a sense of body awareness, flexibility, strength, stamina, agility, balance, and coordination.
Kids yoga has many benefits to be incorporated by schools to promote comprehensive school health because it involves strengthening and balancing the mind, body, and spirit.
When practicing yoga, one must keep a clear and open mind, which helps to relieve family, social, and academic stress that many students face in their everyday lives. Throught each pose students are encouraged to use their imaginations to move their body from pose to pose. If students are able to partake in a yoga program during the afternoon (lunch hour or recess), they will likely have a better focus in the classroom as they have exhausted and cleared the body and mind through yoga. Kelsey has experienced these results when teaching yoga in schools and placement.
Having a clear mind strongly relates to the concept of mindfulness, meaning being conscious of what is presently happening. Whether it be overstimulation from social media or the pressures of life, mindfulness helps to encourage living in the moment. Being able to disconnect from social media and events that are happening is a lifelong skill students can take with them and use on their journey of life.
Students with special needs such as; ADHD, Autism, and Anxiety would especial benefit from the practice of yoga and mindfulness. Part of their exceptionality is having an overactive mind, which results in children who feel the need to constantly be moving. Practicing mindfulness will help these students to self regulate themselves, thus help them stay focused in other areas like the classroom and school work. To get a real world perspectives we had the opportunity to speak with a resource teacher, Mrs. Maria. Mrs. Maria strongly recommends incorporating yoga in not only the special needs classes but all classes due to the positive effects she’s witnessed in her classes.
Along with yoga’s many mental health benefits, come the obvious physical health benefits. Yoga strengthens the body and stretches the muscles. Each yoga poses teaches body awareness and control, and some poses practice balance. Poses can be altered to suit the individual and can vary in level of difficulty. Yoga breathing has physical benefits for the body also. These benefits include detoxifying and release of toxins, massaging of the organs, release of tension, increase in muscle and immune system, improved posture and quality of blood, increase in digestion and assimilation of food, strengthens lungs, regenerates cells, lowers blood sugar, improves stamina and aids in weight control and some cases pain relief. (Moksha Yoga Instructor). Lastly, we must mention as both the Moksha yoga teacher and Little Feet Yoga Instruction said the same thing. Adults actually forget how to properly breath and yoga re-teaches us this. If children begin yoga young they will never lose the benefits of deep breathing!
Performing physical activity such as yoga causes endorphin levels to rise and in turn results in a happier person. Regular yoga deep breathing techniques have proven to relax muscles, decrease stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, increase energy levels, and reduce anxiety and depression, says Moksha Yoga instructor.
Within schools yoga acts as a planned, integrated and holistic approach in promoting school health. Apart from its many benefits yoga is adaptable to any place and time and is simple to incorporate into classrooms, for individuals, and small and large groups. To do our part in promoting comprehensive school health into schools we’re happy to have begun teaching lunch time yoga in our school placements!
Big thank you to our resources, Mrs Maria (Resource Teacher) and Moksha Yoga Instruction (Anonymous) for your knowledge and time!