When I asked a group of kindergarten teachers which challenges in the classroom kept them up at night, here’s what they said:
- Their bodies need to move, and they have a hard time sitting still.
- Their engines are running high, and they have a hard time settling down.
- They are constantly interrupting each other and not listening to one another.
- They find it hard to make time to do everything that is beneficial to all the students.
- Many of the children lack self-control and are very impulsive.
- A lot of the children have self-regulation issues and have a hard time focusing on specific tasks.
Does this sound familiar?
I’ve been hearing that children everywhere are having dysregulation issues. Some people say it’s due to increased technology use and over-scheduled lives. Whatever the reason, many early childhood teachers are turning to yoga and mindfulness to help their children calm down and focus in their classrooms.
Teachers are hearing about the benefits of yoga:
- increases strength and flexibility
- helps them relax, unwind, and calm down to reduce stress and anxiety
- helps them sleep better
- promotes interaction between adult and child, as well as between multiple children
- improves their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their coordination
- develops self-confidence, self-expression, and body awareness
- promotes a healthy, active lifestyle
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But the question remains – how do you get started with yoga in the classroom with little or no experience yourself?
The good news is that you don’t have to know it all or do it all. Keep it simple, meaningful, and fun. After looking at the list of five main resources below, pick out one idea that you’d like to start with in your classroom.
Here are three steps to getting started:
Notice what specific challenges your children are facing (ex. Could they use some strengthening exercises after sitting for long periods? Could they benefit from mindful moment breaks to help with subject transitions?)
Get curious about some potential yoga and mindfulness practices (ex. Would you prefer to teach them some basic yoga poses? Would a breathing technique help with starting your morning class meeting?)
Pick one technique, try it out yourself first, and then introduce it to your children.
So, what does it look like to integrate yoga into your classroom?
Follow your own interests and passion, and the children will feed off of your enthusiasm. Remember yoga is a lifestyle, not something to perfect overnight. Your classroom yoga experience will be personal to your classroom depending on what you are interested in. For example:
- If you love yoga postures, print out a yoga poster below and practice a five-pose sequence based on a particular theme.
- If you are inspired to start a daily meditation practice at home, then maybe you’d like to introduce a “sitting silently” practice in your classroom after recess to help to refocus.
- If breathing techniques help you calm your own anxiety, try introducing Flower Breath before each class meeting to help your students slow down and calm their bodies.
- If you’re more into playful games, then grab a deck of yoga cards and play yoga card games with your students.
- If you’re a book buff, then try reading and acting out a yoga book in your reading corner or projecting a PDF yoga book on your smartboard.
There is no right answer of how to get started with yoga in the classroom. But the main idea is to just get started. Give it a go and remember that you are planting seeds in your children to create a healthy practice for life.
Tips to Get Started Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to Kids
How to Get Started with Yoga in the Early Childhood Classroom
Click on the links below for five ways to use yoga resources to introduce yoga in your early childhood classroom:
1. Learn yoga poses for kids:
- 58 Easy Yoga Poses for Kids (blog)
- 40 Kid-Friendly Chair Yoga Poses (blog)
2. Practice breathing exercises:
- 5 Breathing Exercises for Kids for Calm and Focus (blog)
- Breathing Exercise Cards for Kids (product)
3. Play with yoga cards for kids:
- How to Play Yoga Card Games (blog)
- Yoga Card Games for Kids (product)
- Yoga Games for Large Groups (blog)
4. Practice 5-pose flow sequences:
- Search “Printable Poster” on our KidsYogaStories.com website for a variety of downloadable posters (blog)
- 100 Five-Pose Yoga Posters (product)
5. Read yoga books:
- The Grateful Giraffe: A Feelings Yoga Book (product)
- Rachel’s Day in the Garden: A Kids Yoga Garden Book (product)
- See our full collection of books here (product)
Other Awesome Resources:
- Join our free weekly Kids Yoga Stories newsletter for yoga tips and kids yoga resources
- Watch “4 Steps to Teaching Yoga to Kids”
- Print Classroom Yoga Poster
- Download the Ultimate Kids Yoga Planner
- Benefits of Yoga for Kids
- “Integrating Mindfulness in your Classroom Curriculum”
- Join our digital Kids Yoga Monthly subscription
Yoga theme ideas:
- Collection of Toddler Yoga Ideas
- Collection of Chair Yoga Ideas for Kids
- Seasonal Yoga Lesson Plans
- Monthly Kids Yoga Themes
- Holiday Yoga Lesson Plans
- Fun Kids Yoga Class Ideas
Download your How to Get Started with Yoga in the Classroom Poster
May We Suggest
“I used week 1 postures with my p1 class (age 5) this afternoon & they were fab, they loved it. Thank you for such a well planned resource, everything in the one place. ” – Annie S
“I literally keep the printed folder of workshop materials along with Giselle’s book Classroom Yoga In 10 Minutes A Day in my school/kids yoga bag at all times!” – Synthia