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Have you thought about trying yoga with your children this summer term?

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Summer is a wonderful time to start sharing the benefits of yoga in your setting and getting outside and sharing yoga “live” is definitely the most powerful way to practice. 

Yoga is all about connection. The mind body connection, connecting with nature and often connecting with our community as well. I find it surprising, therefore, that the most common way I see yoga practiced in schools is in front of a screen rather than outside in a circle.

Summer is a wonderful time to start sharing the benefits of yoga in your setting and getting outside and sharing yoga “live” is definitely the most powerful way to practice.

Yoga can help children reach lots of the National Curriculum P.E goals and boasts plenty of physical and mental benefits for pupils. Most importantly to me, it’s a lifelong practice which children can come back to throughout their lives. It can be practiced in groups or alone and doesn’t require expensive equipment. It also can’t be done “wrong” and as so much of yoga is centred on the breath, it is really accessible since anyone who can breathe can do it. Yoga also broadens a school’s P.E offerings and is a great way to engage the least active pupils –something many schools are striving to do.

“Will we need special equipment?”

Many schools don’t have the budgets to invest in yoga mats but luckily, they are not essential. I do recommend that children have a clear space which is theirs to work in. (Hoops can be useful.) This helps with behaviour management and also helps the child identify their “safe space” within yoga. I always start by agreeing with the children that we always remain on our own mats, or in our own yoga hoops, unless we are doing a partner challenge.

The simple formula below for sharing yoga with children helps you to structure your session so the children can get the benefits of yoga and they also get to know how the lesson will progress. Studies show that doing yoga regularly gives the best results, so keep it simple but do it often!

Lesson structure

1    Welcome 

2    Breathing Technique 

3    Sun Salutations 

4    Yoga Story

5    Pose Work

6    Game 

7    Relaxation 

8    Breathing Technique

Breathing: I always open class with a breathing technique to help everyone either feel calm and centred or energised if you’re moving later in the day. Breaths such as humming bee or bunny breath can calm children whereas as the wood chopper breath is super energising.

Sun Salutations: We then warm up our bodies with sun salutations – this is a simple-to- learn and share sequence which stretches the body and builds heat. Once children are familiar with it, it becomes an easy and quick way to get ready for more challenging poses.

Yoga Story: I then like to share a yoga story which includes plenty of child safe poses – you can either use one of their favourite picture books, use a pre-written yoga story or even write your own. There are plenty in my resource bank on innerchildyogaschool.com which you can use.

Depending how much time you have, you might incorporate some partner or group poses or even a journaling activity but it’s really important to always close the class with a short time of meditation or quiet reflection and I like to finish with another breathing technique.

A lesson to try

When we practice outside it is lovely to really make nature a part of the lesson so here is a ‘nature inspires’ class plan ready for you to share with your students today. Simply print out the plan and get going!

I would love to hear how you get on so please do let me know!

Simply print out the plan and get going!

With many thanks to Victoria Tso for writing this article.

Vic is a specialist children’s yoga teacher and experienced classroom teacher. She is on a mission to a make the benefits of yoga accessible to all children and creates resources to help teachers share yoga in a safe, age-appropriate way in their schools.

For more wonderful ideas, help and information, please visit Victoria’s website at www.innerchildyogaschool.com.

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