Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yoga In and Out of the Classroom

Like all of you, I love my job!  I love it so much I let it take over my life sometimes.  Although, I have been teaching for 8 years, I seemed to have entered the career at a difficult time, like many professions. This has caused each spring, of not knowing if I have a position the next year,  to be ridiculously stressful.  Two years ago, I hit an elevated stress level my body couldn't handle.  I tried adding extra walks with the dog, more sleep, and a closer look at my diet, but wasn't feeling better.  I knew I needed to do something to relieve my stress.
I had been seeing more and more articles about yoga, so a-reading-I-went.  I started reading Yoga Journal and other publications to better myself with the benefits and terminology.  I even began playing around with poses on my Wii Fit.  It wasn't until I built up enough courage and entered a local studio that I started to feel better.

We are fortunate in this day and age to have yoga studios all over the place, but finding a studio that makes you happy can be tricky.  I chose a small studio that had a family like feel and offered a variety of classes.  I was quickly hooked and feeling better than ever.

Yoga has taught me that making time for "me" is essential, but more importantly that everyday is practice.  It is practice that makes us stronger and ready for tomorrow; something that I teach my students.
Since yoga has opened the door to a more balanced life, for me, I knew that incorporating it into my classroom was essential.  I started by introducing breathing techniques to help my students that struggle with self-control.  By counting their breaths in and out my students learned that stopping and focusing on their breath made the frustration disapate.  This took crazy amounts of practice, but it was well work the time.  The quality of self control my 1st graders gained was incredible.
The ABCs of Yoga for Kids is a fun book that shows a great variety of poses.
I have also been an active user of Brain Breaks (more to come).  What better time to incorporate yoga than Brain Breaks?  One Brain Break and position that my students have come to love is eagle.  I began by teaching my students eagle arms which allows both brain hemispheres to be stimulated simultaneously.  This pose builds coordination, balance, concentration, and stamina, all traits I want my students to possess.

During Brain Breaks, I also have my students practice stretching.  I have found this absolutely vital to do before sitting down for Read-to-Self and Writers' Workshop.  The stretching allows students to let go of their tension before committing their concentration to one discipline.

I am so grateful for what yoga has done for my student and I.  I would love to hear from those of you that have found yoga to be beneficial in and out of your classroom, or if you have any questions for me.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds super cool. I'd really love to give it a go this year. Now, bear in mind that I am an inflexible Mrs. Claus looking for her next cookie. So, what would you suggest?

    The Meek Moose
    The Meek Moose on TpT