There’s a new trend in your kids’ classrooms nowadays. Instead of staring at the board in front, the kids are lying on the floor near their desks practicing yoga. According to fourth-grade teacher Elisabeth Beckwith, she wanted her students at Fernbank Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, to pay attention to a lesson on Greek mythology. Linking the symbols of Greek gods to yoga poses, such as dog position and the stork pose, Beckwith has high hopes that the students will better retain the material and be re-energized in the middle of the day. It’s a fun way for them to think about things,Beckwith said. You know, it’s healthy for them because they’re getting the breathing right and getting the stretching right.
It’s fun, said nine-year old Jack Besser. It gets out the cramps after you’ve been sitting for an hour.
Another pupil, Medha Prakash, said that the yoga drills help her to concentrate. It makes me feel calm, relaxed and it gets all the stress out of me.
Just like adults, even children can be under a lot of stress. The numerous school activities, peer-pressure, and homework can cause kids to feel some stress. Teaching Yoga to children can help them develop better body awareness, self-control, flexibility, and coordination. Such skills can even be carried beyond class and into their daily routines.
Two years ago, Beckwith started offering yoga in the classroom. with the help of other teachers at the suburban Atlanta public school. YogaKids International, an Indiana-based company, gives them instructions and distributes teaching materials to more than 50 schools around the country. These materials are large flash cards with kid-friendly poses that are easy for the students to imitate. Teachers hole them up to show the kids and read aloud the step-by-step instructions written on the back of the flashcards.