I go into schools and I teach yoga. And here I am going to share with you why it is SO important.
Some schools are coming round to the idea. Yoga creates magic. They see the benefits. Others, not quite so sure. They are confused by this new ‘fad’ and don’t feel it should be on the curriculum. Much of the focus is still on STEM. Great for the advancement of technology & science, but what about the mental health & happiness of everyone? And this is because there is still quite a lot if ignorance around Yoga.
Let’s get clear on what yoga is. Yoga is a philosophy. It’s a practice full of lifestyle tools.
It’s not just about making beautiful shapes with your body. It heals the body, the mind, and the spirit. And in today’s society, it is vital to cope with the stresses put on children’s nervous systems. Our lifestyle today is pressured. The anxiety and mental health problems that children are suffering at the moment is just beyond what it’s ever been before.
Children as young as 4 are suffering with anxiety issues. Now is the time for yoga to be introduced to schools.
Yoga works alongside mindfulness and meditation and the power of the mind is what will enable the next generation and beyond to navigate their way through life in a healthy way.
Here I share with you 3 resons why Yoga should be in schools.
Focus, for children and adults alike, is a challenge right now. We have the culture of things happening ‘super fast’ and we are losing the ability to concentrate, be patient and focus. Yoga empowers young people to quieten the monkey mind, those chattering constant thoughts.
Being able to quieten the mind improves focus. So, if a pupil is struggling with some work or struggling with a practice, yoga teaches them tools so they can bring themselves to a point of focus; helping them to concentrate. This will asisit them in being able to find their work easier or more fluid. This is a real gift. Consequently yoga, because of its practice, breath work, body movements, and fun that children have in a yoga class, they’re able to really try and channel their thoughts and channel their mind.
The Focus and skills they learn are taken off of the mat and into the classroom and onto everyday life. Times when they find that they’re struggling to focus, or things are getting overwhelming, the realization and being able to bring in their yoga practice, their yoga skills, their breath work, to be able to focus is invaluable.
Consider the children who are ‘less sporty’, this more Non competitive practice, but also that’s healthy, works on fitness, bone density, strength, flexibility, relieves growing pains, improves heart strength and improves the flow of the blood pressure. These things are brilliant for young people who find it hard to get involved in sport. If they don’t like the competitive nature of sport, or aren’t competitive, yoga is for them.
A class led by a good teacher, will remind them that it is non competitive. Now, children will always compete. There will always be a little bit of competitiveness between them, over who can hold the tree post the longest, who can hold a plank, who’s really strong, who can do this, that etc. This is a good quality that we don’t want to remove. That natural competitiveness is really lovely.
Yoga is individual and unique to all. When the children come into a class in schools, they’re reminded of this non competitive nature. They are urged to focus on themselves, feel what they feel, close their eyes and not watch what’s going on around them. They connect with their own body, that is a really beautiful moment and it empowers all of them
All children, all young people have a wide range of abilities. To be able to do something healthy for their body and their strength.
And the third benefit of yoga in schools is that it allows children to learn how to regulate their emotions. Young people are on a rollercoaster of emotions every single day. And through the acceptance of their emotions and that being able to connect with how they feel, being able to connect with what triggers them, enables them to learn how to manage their emotions.
Yoga, teaches them tools on how to manage them. So it’s not about not feeling them and numbing out. Their emotions are worthwhile, they are relevant, and they are sending them a message. Yoga teaches them to listen to and understadn their emotions. Being able to regulate them, being able to be in a high pressure situation and have that self awareness of what it is that’s triggering them, how it is that they’re feeling, and how to manage it in a healthy way is invaluable.
Yoga skills will take them not just through primary school and secondary school, but into college, into university, through their exams, and into their everyday life. When we’re teaching them these things, and they learn these life skills, they will use them constantly. In job interviews, relationships and they’re going to pass them down to their own children as they grow older as well.
So don’t think that yoga in schools is just about creating these wonderful shapes and being all namaste. Absolutely not. It creates so much more. And with focused, healthy, happy children, you’ll have focused, calm, happy teachers.