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Popularly known as a physical activity that promotes balance between body and mind, the practice of yoga at school has become increasingly common. This is because, in addition to relieving pain and stress, exercise helps children and young people to improve important aspects in their training, such as concentration and discipline.
The United Kingdom was one of the pioneers in the implementation of yoga in educational institutions. Since 2007, countries in this group have added mindfulness meditation to school plans. In Brazil, more than 58 thousand children and adolescents already practice the activity in schools, according to the NGO Mente Viva. This growth is due to the countless benefits it offers from the cognitive process to the emotions of students.
For yoga to really work, it must be practiced regularly. In this sense, it is necessary to adopt measures that encourage students to join the exercise. Want to know more? Check below the advantages and how to work this activity in schools!
What you will find in this article:
What is the importance of yoga in schools?
Regular yoga practice contributes positively to students’ learning and personal development, both in the present and in the future. The advantages of physical activity also extend to teachers, since routine problems, such as conflicts between students, tend to reduce, which improves the coexistence and quality of classes. Follow the main benefits of yoga at school.
Performing all yoga movements and postures requires a lot of focus and discipline, preventing the individual from being distracted by random thoughts. Thus, exercise stimulates concentration, not only at the moment you are practicing, but also in other school activities. There are even specific postures so that more agitated children can concentrate more easily.
Helps control anxiety
Often, the routine of schools ends up arousing anxiety in children and adolescents. If the young person does not learn to deal with this feeling, it can become a disease. Contact with yoga helps to calm the mind, controls breathing and slows heart rate, reducing anxiety.
Through the quiet moments that the exercise provides, students learn to deal with uncontrolled emotions, managing to face the challenges of everyday life in a more harmonious and controlled way.
Stress causes harm to the human mind and body. One of the main advantages of yoga is precisely to reduce students’ stress through breathing exercises and meditation. Therefore, the body balances hormones and regulates the nervous system – a condition that can make them more positive in adverse situations.
How to implement yoga in the school environment?
The implementation of yoga in schools is a relatively simple process. However, it is necessary to follow some important steps for it to be successful. See how to add this activity to your students’ routine.
Make yoga a pedagogical practice of Physical Education
Physical Education is the most appropriate discipline to introduce yoga to the school environment, since it works with body, mental and social practices. Therefore, it is necessary to create a plan on how the theme will be presented and practiced by students, taking into account the age group and characteristics of the classes.
Adapting the practice of yoga to the age of the students is fundamental for their engagement. For children up to 5 years old, for example, exercise should be more playful. For teenagers, the ideal is to make them aware of the benefits of the activity for school and personal life.
Yoga classes need to explore the various movements of the exercise, which allows students to experience different possibilities of relaxation. In addition, the postures must respect the physical limits of the students, starting with basic movements and evolving according to the performance of each class.
Count on a trained professional
It is essential that the school trains the Physical Education teacher or hire specific instructors to teach yoga classes. After all, exercise works the body and mind in an integrated way, so you need to have in-depth knowledge to adapt it according to the needs of the students and work on the right movements, avoiding possible risks.
Opt for short yoga sessions
As with everything that is different from the students’ routine, they may initially have some resistance to the practice of this exercise. With this in mind, it is recommended to start with short sessions so that children and young people gradually get used to the activity.
End contextualizing the exercise
At the end of each yoga session, the teacher must contextualize the practice, talking about how it benefits students and listening to their experience with the activity. Try to adopt methodologies, such as a chat, that associate yoga with a special and interesting moment.
Create a yoga program at school
Expand the practice of exercise beyond the Physical Education class. To do this, simply create an extracurricular yoga program that offers more advanced sessions. In this way, students who experience physical activity and notice its benefits will be able to improve their knowledge, making it a continuous habit, which improves students’ behavior at school and at home.
How to encourage the practice of yoga in remote classes?
Social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on students’ lives. According to research on the Mental Health of Children and Youth, carried out in England and published by NHS Digital, the proportion of people with mental health problems has increased by 50% among this public since the beginning of the pandemic. It is estimated that one in six children has developed anxiety and depression.
Thus, it is evident the importance of maintaining the practice of yoga even during remote classes. The activity can be carried out during normal class hours or in exceptional sessions, in which family members can participate with the student. Another tip is to record and make available yoga video classes with various levels of complexity and focusing on different issues, such as reducing anxiety or increasing concentration to study at home, so that students can access them whenever they need to.
Nowadays, with excessive exposure to visual stimuli, as well as access to materials that are inappropriate for their age group, children tend to be more anxious. Not to mention that situations that escape the routine of students, as is the case of the pandemic, can also generate stress and other wear and tear that affect the behavior and performance of young people in school and personal.
In this context, yoga at school establishes itself as an excellent tool to help students to work on their emotions, given that practice helps them to have more body awareness and respect for their limits, brings calm and concentration, increases self-esteem and self confidence.
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