Why You Should Urge Your Child’s Teacher to Have Classroom Yoga Breaks

When my kids were in Montessori elementary school, I used to teach yoga as part of PE. But when I heard that yoga expert Louise Goldberg advocates for short, mini yoga breaks once or more in the school day, I knew she was onto something even better. Yoga movements help kids focus, relax, and feel good about themselves, so of course kids should do a few each day. Now, Louise has made it easy for teachers to give students basic direction. Her new book, Classroom Yoga Breaks: Brief Exercises to Create Calm, features photos of poses, clear instructions—and lots of research about why teachers should want to do this. The book makes a great gift for your own children’s teachers, because it will not only assist your child now, it will be a gift that keeps giving for years to come. I spoke to Louise to get her insights on this wonderful idea: Why is yoga helpful for kids in school? Kids spend a lot of time sitting in class. That’s not only bad for their bodies, it affects their ability to focus. Introducing yoga to the classroom has been shown in research to reduce stress, improve behavior and academic performance, increase time on task, reduce hostility, and ease students’ transitions between activities. It can even boost class participation for kids with emotional and behavioral difficulties. This is the reason a growing number of teachers are implementing yoga breaks. Tell me more about helping kids focus. Yoga is a practice of paying attention. Teachers always tell kids to focus, but we don’t often teach them how. Yoga gives students a first-hand demonstration of the power of focused concentration. Here’s an example: Ask a child to stand on one foot while looking around the room, looking at his phone, or even thinking about what’s for lunch. Then ask him to balance the same way while focusing on a spot on the floor a few feet in front of him and noticing his breath gently coming in...

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