Yoga & School Performance
by Kristi McDonald
M.Ed., E-RYT 200, YACEP, LMT
Director, Samadhi Kids
Today’s schools are filled with never before seen challenges. High violence rates, low success rates and an increased population of mentally and physically unhealthy children are rampant. Yoga is accessible, easy and the benefits come quickly. The more you grow your practice, the more benefits you will see.
Children are products of their environments. How are their environments these days? Stressful! Kids today are facing very common stressors that you and I never had to face. Parents, guardians, and teachers are unknowingly placing their second-hand stress on the children in their lives.
On top of the environmental stress, school violence is another area that is at an all-time high. School shootings weren’t an issue when I was in school, that's for sure. Although schools are more aware and employing more school security, a metal detector can be a daily reminder of the violence that is very real and very present in our school systems today.
Even on top of the second-hand stress and violence, we throw in more stress with testing. Tests are issues today like never before. Many states have funding tied in with test scores. If your students do well, you get more funding. If they don’t do so well, you don’t. More importance is placed on testing that ever before. There are more tests and each test seem to be more important than the one before it. Over-testing is stressful to students, teachers and administrators.
Through practicing yoga, children can learn ways to relax and get control of stress in their lives. A child worried about a test, for instance, might use the meditation or breathing techniques of yoga to help him/ her calm down and focus.
Yoga has also been shown to improve academic performance. In fact, research has shown that students who experienced one year of a relaxation curriculum achieved a higher GPA along with higher test scores, improved work habits, and better cooperation than students without exposure to the curriculum.
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