School children benefit from practicing yoga, just as adults benefit. YogaKids, a company based in Indiana, has developed yoga programs specifically for classroom use. Open since 1991, schools around the United States have successfully used their programs to improve focus and concentration in their students, instill an appreciation for physical activity, and teach calming and stress coping techniques.
Research Indicates Yoga’s Effectiveness
The Study Factors Affecting Student Achievement and Student Behavior completed in 2007 by Buckenmeyer and Feltas of Purdue University and Indiana University, studied several schools using the YogaKids curriculum in the classroom, and the corresponding affect on student behavior in class and at home, test scores, self-image, concentration and other factors.
The study concluded that the YogaKids program contributed to the following results:
- Increased subject retention
- Providing a participatory, community-oriented learning environment
- Increasingly positive attitudes in students
- Enhanced communication and problem solving skills
- Better posture, fitness and self image
Yoga and Greek Mythology
An innovative teacher in Decatur, Georgia, uses yoga to help her students learn about Greek Mythology. She ties each yoga pose to a figure in Greek mythology. As the students practice the poses, they learn information about the characters. This practice activates the kinesthetic learning sense within the students. The teacher relayed to CNN in a 2007 interview, that integrating yoga into the classroom has helped students remain calm when needed, and draw upon energy when needed. The YogaKids curriculum helps teachers learn how to integrate yoga across academic disciplines.
Yoga Develops Culture of Trust
Students practicing yoga with their teachers and fellow classmates benefit in more than physical ways. They learn to develop trust. Partner poses help students develop trust with each other. The fact that the students learn stress relief and coping techniques through yoga taught by their teacher also helps the students trust their teacher. Interviews with student participants in the 2007 study reveal that many students used poses and techniques they learned at school while at home, to relax before going to sleep.
Yoga Is Great for Learning
Learning yoga techniques is great for the body; however, employing yoga in the classroom helps the learning process. Students practicing yoga have higher test scores, and are better able to cope with stress and anxiety. They have more self-discipline and focus while in the classroom, leading to improved grades. Many students in the 2007 relayed that yoga helped build their confidence and self-esteem, crucial to develop at young ages. Integrating yoga into the classroom is a win-win situation for everyone involved.