Why Bringing Kids Yoga To Schools Can Make a REAL Difference

Gopala Amir-Yaffe
Why Bringing Kids Yoga To Schools Can Make a REAL Difference

It is undeniable that kids also experience stress, and one of the most stressful places they spend a lot of time in is school. The endlessly increasing spirit of competition and achievement, the social struggle, busy schedules and very stressed out role models (teachers and parents) make the children’s lives a constant struggle.

Schools are supposed to be an environment that supports the kids in their growth and study, but it is long proven that stress is a factor that inhibits this development.

What We Don't Learn in School

We learn many things in school, mainly so-called “facts”, but we don’t receive there many tools that will help us live a better life. Here are a few of the most important things that can support and enhance our lives but are absent of most schools curriculums:

  1. How to be happy.
  2. How to manage emotions.
  3. How to communicate in a positive way.
  4. How to keep our body healthy.
  5. How to feel connected to our selves and be respectful of our bodies.
  6. How to increase our self-esteem.
  7. How to develop self-control – rather than how to be controlled better by adults.
  8. How to concentrate.
  9. How to relax and find some peace of mind.
  10. How to be creative and how to think independently.
  11. In fact, we don’t even learn in school how to study.

Yoga offers tools to imbibe these skills that can create a healthier and well-adapted future generation.

Why Kids Get Stressed in School

The competitive and goal-oriented nature of most schools creates social phobias, exam anxiety, and even insomnia. The non-competitive spirit of yoga and the focus on the well being of your self and your environment can help cure some of those negative effects.

Kids suffer in schools not just from mental stress but also from physical tension. Sitting still for long hours in awkward poses and carrying heavy bags creates a lot of employment for pediatricians and orthopedists. When kids are bent over their desks, they find it hard to concentrate, breathe properly, and even stay awake.

Small changes in the way kids sit and breathe can make a big difference in their ability to stay focused and to learn.

School curriculums were created by people who have maybe forgotten how it was to be kids, and include expectations that cannot be fulfilled even by most adults – can you sit for 5 or more hours a day and listen to a lecture without moving and fidgeting?

A couple of stretches and a few deep breaths with kids yoga every few minutes can help greatly in keeping the kids' attention throughout a class.

How Yoga Can Help Both Teachers And Kids

It's important to remember that kids learn through example and that having stressed out teachers can also create stressed children.

Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach…so maybe if we could give school teachers some yoga tools to incorporate in their classroom teaching throughout the day, we will also have better role models for the kids to look up to and imitate. And of course, you can also offer weekly adult yoga classes for the schoolteachers.

Yoga also provides a way to learn through movement and breathing and imagination. Kids are not all the same, and although many of them are auditorial learners and do well at school, many of them learn better through moving creating and visualizing.

A lot of the tools we learn in yoga can be adapted and applied to fit classroom settings where we cannot move the tables and chairs and put down our yoga mats on the floor. Even while sitting on a chair, we can still:

  1. Stretch and do yoga poses
  2. Breathe
  3. Use guided imagery and relax
  4. Meditate
  5. Positively interact with our neighbors

Some schools do not have the space or the budget to have weekly yoga classes, and even in places that do have regular yoga sessions, the benefits of yoga can penetrate much more deeply and be greatly enhanced if they become a part of the students’ daily routine in the classroom.

There are not many spaces in life now, where kids get a chance to relax, to look inward, and explore what they're feeling and who they really are. 

Yoga can give us tools to be better prepared for studying, for an exam, and even for life.