Breathwork & Simple Movements in the Classroom
Even if you are not a yoga lover, there is no denying that yoga has swept the nation and is growing exponentially in popularity. Incorporating yoga into your classroom routine can calm and relax your students, help you regain control when students are rambunctious, and help students focus when facing stressful tests or situations like speeches. You can easily incorporate 5-10 minutes of yoga whenever it works for you and your students, while teaching your students about alternative options for stress relief and relaxation.
Try one of these yoga practices to change the energy in your classroom:
- Breathing: If you and your students are comfortable sitting at desks, that works, but sitting on the floor with legs crossed may help shift the energy a bit more. Once everyone is comfortable, students can close their eyes or keep them open, while a person of authority (you or other teacher or aide) keeps eyes open for safety and security. Students practice breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, or in and out through the nose. Consider giving them the option to fill their torso in three stages, from the abdomen to sides and lower lungs to upper lungs, and then “pour” the air out as if pouring water from a pitcher. Doing slow and controlled breathing for just 1-2 minutes will reset the nervous system and allow students to relax.
- Movement: Simple movements like stretching the arms overhead and bending side to side (picture creating a crescent moon with the body) or doing simple shoulder rolls are all part of yoga that helps the human body to relax. Try simple poses such as Warrior II, Mountain Pose, Seated Forward Fold, or others you are comfortable with directing, based on your classroom age range.
- Meditation: When your classroom is full of chaos, or on rainy days when kids can’t play outside, consider a 5-10 minute meditation to help calm nerves, create a peaceful atmosphere, and reset children to their parasympathetic state. Guide children through a simple meditation by describing a calm scene, such as a walk through a beautiful garden, or describe relaxing each body part moving from toes to the top of the head.
How Do Yoga Techniques Help in the Classroom?
The benefits of yoga, breathwork, and meditation for both young and old are innumerable. Incorporating one or all yoga practices into your classroom routine can help prevent or reduce stress, increase energy, expand lung capacity, regulate heart rate and improve digestion. It can collectively shift the energy of a room from tense or excited to calm and focused. Whether you already practice yoga outside of the classroom or it is new to you, it is something that many teachers are finding beneficial in their classroom. Try one or all of the techniques above, and let us know how it goes!