It all started in English class. For the second year in a row, I was planning to enter my 7th and 8th grade students in the St. Louis Symphony’s Express the Music writing contest. Their task was to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and to compose a poem or piece of prose inspired by the music.
Everything started off well enough, until the students realized the classical composition was twelve minutes long. I’m sure you can imagine the moans and groans that followed. I felt like I was back at home with toddlers! But then it occurred to me — they needed a lesson in mindfulness. And honestly, so did I.
We’re ALL switching tabs, scrolling forward, and clicking back and forth constantly throughout the day. Rarely do we stop to focus on one single task or to listen to an entire piece of music without doing or thinking about 98 different things. So, I decided that the very next day, my 7th and 8th graders would practice beginner yoga in the classroom.
Did the students laugh, fall over, and act like touching their toes was a special kind of torture? Yes, absolutely. But in the end, did they listen to the music without distractions? Oh yeah, they did! I played the classical piece again during our final relaxation, and they were calm, quiet, and mindful. #teacherwin
Even better, they begged me to plan a monthly yoga session for them because they felt so relaxed. And now, it’s our new thing. Each month, I send reminder emails for students to bring towels, blankets, or mats to school, and we practice a YouTube guided yoga session.
So if you’re a teacher, or even a parent, look at your planner and consider adding in a little stretching, breathing, or yoga to your monthly routine. You’d be surprised what yoga in the classroom can do for your students, your children, and especially for you.
Thank you emails from parents are a nice perk, too.