Yoga and Mindfulness
Students at the Primary Level have class every week. These classes are used to build the foundations of yoga and mindfulness and to introduce the core concept of “Thinking-Feeling-Doing Yoga”. The majority of time spent in instruction covers basic concepts such as learning yoga poses and breathing and relaxation techniques. Students will practice yoga with a focus on understanding the anatomical aspects of movement and how “doing” yoga changes one’s physical fitness and health. Primary Level students will also have opportunity to be creative in class using music, stories, games and other classroom activities.
Students in grades 3-5 practice yoga with attention to emotional health and wellbeing. At this stage, most Intermediate Level students are able to understand, communicate and begin to control the state of their emotions. Thusly, yoga is taught as a window into one’s “feeling” brain. For most people (of any age) our emotional state is reflected in both our body and our thoughts. Intermediate students spend time exploring the effects their feelings (stress, anxiety, joy, anger, sadness) have on both physical and intellectual functioning. Though yoga poses are integral to every class, students will focus on relaxation and concentration as the primary techniques to calm, lift and brighten their mood.
Students in grades 6-8 spend their time in yoga class practicing yoga postures and techniques to be both more mindful and more relaxed. As the oldest students, they will benefit most from the time in relaxation and understanding the connection between a quiet body and a quiet mind. “Thinking” Yoga, or the ability to make connections between physical states and mental and emotional states, is the highlight here. At this point in the curriculum, students are familiar with the flow of a yoga class and what is expected of them. They are able to personalize their practice and this is encouraged. Increased individual instruction and a variety of options are given to make each student comfortable in poses and relaxation.
It is recognized that some students may have behavioral, emotional, learning or social needs that can be dealt with in an individual yoga session. In conjunction with the counseling department, parents and classroom teachers, students are recognized and assigned to work one-on-one with the yoga teacher. In these sessions, the core concepts of yoga are used to address the student’s area(s) of need while reinforcing strengths.
In addition, many teachers set aside time each week for a short practice in their classroom. These minutes are a time for teachers and students alike to stop – notice – move on, a continuing cycle of mindful awareness.