The practice of yoga has been slowly sneaking into daycare curriculum all over the world, with a dramatic increase in the last few years. For the uninitiated among us, yoga is an exercise that uses stretching and regulated breathing to unite the mind, body and spirit. The concentration exercises give students the tools to handle physical and mental obstacles and have resulted in improved focus throughout the school day.
If the kids in your class are very young, stick with the simplest poses like downward dog and cobra. Children 18 months and up should be able to mimic you to get into these positions.
If your students’ age range is higher you can incorporate slightly more difficult poses, like transitioning between cat and cow.
If you have a small group, go around and help the students individually. One child might need reminding that their knees should be on the floor for cat, while another child might be uncooperative all together and given a new task.
Occasionally teachers receive complaints about the religious associations with yoga. One way to avoid controversy is to use positive affirmations instead of prayer and say generic pose names instead of the Sanskrit ones.
Yoga has had specifically great results on special needs children with ADHD and Autism by improving concentration levels and reducing stress. Use this as an alternative to putting a child in a timeout.
These exercises are great confidence builders for children and adults alike. Feel free to provide plenty of encouragement and praise to kids when they master a position or try their best.