The ability to reflect is an underrated skill that can provide many benefits to students. A comprehensive literature review on Reflection Literacy points out that this skill can affect students’ academic literacy, reflection knowledge and skills, assessment literacy, and social-emotional insights. Teachers and parents must harness this skill to help students think cognitively, learn and assess new lessons, and express their thoughts and emotions through different communication strategies.
The good news is that you can hone this skill in your students through regular yoga practice. Here’s why yoga can help your little ones in building up their reflection literacy skills:
How Yoga Encourages People to Reflect More
Yoga is a mind and body practice because it involves breath work and meditation as you move through poses.
While there are challenging yoga styles for people who want to work out, you can encourage your students to pause and reflect through more relaxing yoga flows. In fact, Livestrong.com states that your class can do this through a vinyasa flow wherein you follow your inhales and exhales as you move in and out of poses. You and your students can slow down the vinyasa flow and take deeper breaths so that you can all meditate and reflect more about the practice.
Aside from encouraging reflection during your practices on the mat, you can inspire your students to contemplate their thoughts and actions through yogic principles. Our article on the Yamas and Niyamas shares that posting core yogic principles on the wall can increase the mindfulness of your students. To illustrate, yogic principles like Aparigha can make them think about things that they need to let go of, while the Santosha principle can make them reflect on the positive experiences in their lives.
3 Ways to Build Up Students’ Reflection Skills Through Yoga
Include reflective prompts and poses in their practice
Yoga can already make your students reflect on their experiences. However, you can deepen their reflections by doing vinyasa flows and holding poses for a longer period. These strategies will help them slow down, giving them more room to contemplate their experiences. You can further boost this by adding reflective prompts throughout their practice, such as setting an intention before every session or observing their emotions during the savasana pose.
Encourage them to write a reflective essay about yoga
As previously mentioned, reflection literacy can influence kids’ ability to express their thoughts and feelings in various ways. So aside from providing reflective prompts during their practice, you can also use these prompts to help them ponder about their yoga experience through a reflective essay. A guide by Studocu on reflective essays explains that you can help them plan by giving them prompts that encourage them to brainstorm about their personal experiences. You can also list down reflective questions like “how did this experience make me feel” or “how has this changed my personal life” to help them organize and express their thoughts about yoga.
Use T-charts in your discussions about each session
You also need to harness your students’ reflective literacy skills by motivating them to communicate their thoughts and feelings verbally. Rather than doing an open discussion, an article by Edutopia on student reflection recommends using a T-chart to help your students come up with more specific and contemplative answers. You can do this by asking your students what went well with their yoga practice and writing their answers on one side of the chart. After, you can ask them about what you can change about their practice in the future and write the responses on the other side. This chart will make it easier for the students to think about their practice and express their thoughts.
Yoga allows students to slow down and be more mindful of their lives. Through the right prompts and activities, you can further build up their reflection literacy skills and harness their ability to communicate their thoughts.