Last week I was invited to teach at Trevithick Academy, Cornwall, to teach a yoga class to the Year 3 children as part of their learning on spirituality and Hinduism. This was a first for me, as although I have taught yoga in many schools, this is the first time that it has been to focus on the spiritual, rather than physical, aspect of yoga.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to highlight how yoga can be a spiritual practice – in the way that we move and breathe mindfully, with respect for our body and withdrawing our senses to find a place of calm and peace inside.
It is encouraging to see primary schools taking an open minded approach to the spiritual and religious learning of their pupils, by offering them the opportunity to experience an ancient practice such as yoga.
The children, aged 7-8, loved the 45 minute class and all that gave feedback at the end said that they felt relaxed, calm and peaceful, even ‘floaty’. The class was fun – I didn’t use any Sanskrit terminology, and we didn’t chant. I did teach them Sun Salutations, and explained that it was done to be thankful at the start of each day; I asked them to pay attention to their breathing to calm themselves, and we closed our eyes and tried to find that place inside that doesn’t worry about anything, that is always happy.
My passion is sharing yoga with children, teens and adults. It has so much to offer each age group in different ways – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and I look forward to sharing it everyday.
All school teachers are invited to attend a mini conference and presentation morning discussing the benefits of yoga for primary and secondary school pupils. Friday 7 November 9am-12pm at Truro Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre – with special guests John Scott, international Astanga yoga teacher and Charlotta Martinus founder of TeenYoga UK!!
I met the Stithians Brownies group on Friday for a yoga session, what a great bunch of girls! They had to choose one thing to do for their community, one thing for their friends and one thing for them themselves.. and they chose yoga as the activity for themselves. They all enjoyed the 45 minute class, here is what they had to say:
My favourite bit was doing cobra.
My favourite part was the whale.
I loved the mouse part.
I liked it very much and I am going to practice at home.
I loved yoga today, the best thing was when we got to go to sleep. Thank you.
Thank you very much. The bit I liked best was sleeping.
I liked everything.
A great experience and opportunity for all the girls. Enjoyed by all the girls, no matter of ability. Would highly recommend. Thank you.
I taught them many poses but as you can see the final relaxation was what stayed with them the most and seemed to have the most impact; children need savasana time, let them relax.
Sad to have finished my six week stint at St Merryn Primary School, where I have been teaching yoga to both the key stage two classes this half term. The response from the pupils has been so enthusiastic and it seems that they have really understood the benefits of practising yoga! Today’s quotes were: “It’s made me stronger”, “I can do the poses better each week”, “I like getting to relax”, “It calms me down”. The pupils were able to explain which poses can help you to relax and commented that you can just concentrate on breathing, try to think of nothing and to feel confident in the poses. Their teacher said that it has helped them with their science in learning about heart rate and that they were able to come up with ideas of how to calm and relax. He also used the yoga classes as an opportunity to assess their balancing skills. Over the six weeks the teachers and I certainly noticed an improvement in the balance and coordination of the children, as well as an increased ability to relax. The after school club also went down well, with parents enjoying the bonding time with their children and the chance to exercise and relax together, many have now said that they are now practising some of the poses together at home! Hopefully this has given the children a taster of yoga to continue for a long time.
We’re delighted with the yoga sessions, it’s exactly what we were hoping for and the responses from all pupils, teachers and parents involved have been 100% positive. Pupils have told me they’ve been trying out some of the postures at home, and I’ve already, after 3 weeks, seen an improvement in my pupil’s balance and control when practicing certain postures. The children all enjoy the calm and relaxed environment that you create in the school hall, and it’s a pleasure to see them getting so much from an alternative form of exercise than they’re used to. It’s fantastic CPD also for all staff involved. Ellie Mitchell, Year 3/4 teacher at St Merryn School, Cornwall