No child wants to feel uncomfortable, cranky or anxious, or to get in trouble because of hyperactive behavior. Children are intrinsically joyful, peaceful, and compassionate. But as the distractions of the external world increase and stress takes over, it can become challenging for many children to connect with their authentic, peaceful selves. In fact, it is my belief, and one of the cornerstones of ChildLight Yoga's Yoga 4 Classrooms program, that without having the time and space for reflection and connection, children ‘forget’ that they have the ability to do so at all.
To be successful, creative learners and compassionate, respectful and self-aware human beings, children must be given opportunities to draw their awareness back away from the sometimes overwhelming distractions of the outside world. In doing so, children are brought into the present moment, a place where they can pause, truly hear and feel, reflect and learn. A few deep breaths, physical movement or stretching to reconnect the body/mind, and moments for quiet reflection, are often a quick and easy way to ‘reset’ the nervous system for calm and focus. It is also in this place that children develop the ability to know, understand and appreciate their true nature. Empowering children to connect within at will, is giving them the gift of knowing inner wisdom, confidence, joy, compassion and contentedness.
Science has shown, and educators have experienced first-hand, that when children are anxious, frustrated or stressed, it is nearly impossible for them to learn. It is only from a relaxed, present state of mind and body that our children can be psychologically and physiologically learning-ready. Right now, more than ever before, school teachers and admistrators are searching for a means to this end. As Founder of ChildLight Yoga, I have had the privilege of sharing yoga with thousands of children and families in yoga studios, gyms, and schools. Trained in part by Yoga Ed.™, a nationally-recognized company focused on bringing the benefits of yoga into schools, I was inspired and challenged by the classroom teachers I encountered to create a program specifically designed for the classroom environment. There was no such program in existence, so after two years of research, development and test piloting at local schools, Yoga 4 Classrooms™ was born.
Yoga 4 Classrooms™ is a low-cost, fun and effective tool for teachers to use with their students for a peaceful and productive classroom. Through the use of Yoga 4 Classrooms activities, teachers can provide their students with opportunities to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This, in turn, will help them to connect with themselves and others with compassion, understanding and clarity. The activities promote self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-confidence – the foundations of exceptional learning and a lifetime of health and wellness. Y4C™ features 65 yoga and mindfulness-based activities, divided into six categories: Let’s Breathe, At Your Desk, Standing, Loosen Up, Imagination Vacation, and Be Well. Each activity includes fully-illustrated instructions, discussion points, sub-activities, and educational tie-ins, for a total of over 200 beneficial classroom practices. The activities were specially chosen for their suitability for the typical classroom space. That means all activities can be done standing beside or sitting at desks, while bodies and hands remain off the floor, away from dirt and germs. A mix of yoga postures, breath exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement, community-building games, and wellness and character-building discussion points such as the power of positive thinking, nutrition, and being a peacemaker, address the whole child – physical, social and emotional – making this the most unique and comprehensive program of its kind.
Yoga 4 Classrooms is easy for teachers and students to use, and helps to create a more harmonious, learning-friendly school day. And its benefits go well beyond the classroom. Yoga 4 Classrooms provides children with life skills they can use in and out of the classroom for long-term health and well-being. Absolutely anyone can use the Y4C program – teachers, students, parents, therapists – no yoga experience is required. Yoga 4 Classrooms Teacher Workshops are being scheduled now. Teachers can attend a public seminar or bring the seminar to their school as a staff development workshop. Certified ChildLight Yoga Instructors can learn to bring these seminars and even the in-school residency program, to schools in their communities. Visit the website for more details.