Friday January 25 marked the Yoga-Recess-Day, a national campaign coordinated by the Yoga Health Foundation to bring yoga-based health education into classrooms. By providing free online resources, including lesson plans and videos and a fundraising platform, school teachers can fund and plan their own yoga lessons to give their students the tools for a healthy body and mind.
The day for the event may have passed, but that doesn’t mean we as yogis can’t continue to be advocates of free yoga in schools. A topic highly debated over the past few months, with criticism from FOX News and controversy in California, children’s yoga is going to be contested unless our community rises as activists to protect it, and in order to provide students in schools with its benefits we must rally for its cause.
Despite opposition, the facts ring true: Introducing students to concepts of mindfulness, collaboration, and tools for reducing stress and problem-solving techniques through children’s yoga have only helped them grow into more compassionate, intelligent individuals. From years of experience I’ve seen myself how children light up on the mat, becoming more confident, creative and eager to learn and share – on and off the mat.
Here are four ways you can support kids yoga programs in your community:
There are several non-profit organizations looking for volunteers to support their school and community based kids yoga programs. Spend some time giving your practice back by leading or assisting a class, or see if you can lend some insights to a teacher interested in incorporating yoga into his or her classroom. You’ll never realize how great of an impact it can have on your own yoga practice.
2. Make A Donation
Whether its your gently used mat, free space in your yoga studio, buying a T-shirt, or financial support, find someone or a group that’s bringing yoga programs into your community, and see what they would need for help. You never know how far that donation can go; Yoga Foster, my non-profit, only needs $10 per child to set up a yoga class in schools in NYC.
3. Hold Donation-Based Class
(For yoga teachers specifically) Designate one of your classes towards raising donations for a kids-yoga initiative. Not only does this provide a helpful donation, it allows you to spread the word about kids yoga and its benefits to schools and communities. Maybe you’ll even open your doors to have kids join in on the practice!
Share your Voice
Interestingly enough; the biggest proponents against children’s yoga in schools aren’t yogis. Let’s outweigh their thoughts with well wishes of our own, and use opportunities on social media, blogs, and other outlets to raise awareness of its benefits.
One day, children’s yoga in schools will be as appreciated and honored as other education programs, and with our help it’ll get there. In the meantime, let’s continue to be mindful of its challenges and do all we can to support it!