Improving the Health and Wellness of Schools
In the nearly two decades of work Yoga Ed. has in developing, implementing, and evaluating yoga programming in schools, we’ve seen firsthand the transformational potential of mindfulness and movement in cultivating physical, cognitive, emotional, and social health. See for yourself just some of the outcomes that are possible with the power of schools x Yoga Ed.
Schools who have implemented Yoga Ed. classes into their physical education or after-school curricula saw measurable improvements in students’ physical fitness, which is even more important today as obesity and chronic disease rates increase among youth.
The Accelerated School integrated Yoga Ed. mat yoga classes directly into their daily P.E. curriculum, and saw statistically significant improvements in the physical fitness of their students as compared to the school district mean levels. In particular, gains were noted in flexibility, upper body strength, and aerobic capacity, all measures related to the activity of yoga (Slovacek 2003).
At The Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, Yoga Ed.’s mat yoga classes help to round out the physical development of their students, building skills that are not necessarily developed in a traditional organized sports model, and promoting holistic body awareness. For P.E. teacher Peter Balding, this means students gain the focus and athleticism to perform at a higher level across their curriculum.
Whether students are provided the opportunity to practice yoga in or out of the classroom, the cognitive skills that they practice during yoga class follow them into the classroom, and beyond, supporting brain development and empowering them to hone in on important tasks and activities, including tests.
In Flint, Michigan, The Crim Fitness Foundation is leveraging the power of Yoga Ed.’s Mindful Movement Program to help combat the negative effects of lead poisoning. Through professional development for staff and online chair yoga lessons in the classroom, students and teachers are building brainpower through mindful movement.
At The Accelerated School, yoga has showed measurable impact on student performance, with GPA’s demonstrating a positive correlation with yoga participation (Slovacek 2003). The more that students practiced focus and concentration during yoga class, the better they performed academically, whether in math, science, or language arts.
Yoga has the capacity to improve self-awareness and self-regulation, giving students and teachers a greater sense of control over their stress and anxiety, and improving self-reported measures of happiness and satisfaction.
The Columbus School for Girls implemented Yoga Ed. chair and mat yoga as a part of their robust counseling program. In doing so, their counseling team was able to “equip students and teachers with tools to manage and release their stress,” resulting in more resiliency and greater well being.
In their work bringing yoga schools throughout New Orleans, Project Peaceful Warriors (PPW) has equipped students with concrete life skills to navigate stress and manage their state of mind. According to PPW Founder and Yoga Ed. Trainer Chelsea Hylton, yoga teaches her students to cope with really hard things: “Teachers have told me that their students start to ask for ‘yoga breaks,’ to stop and do some ‘belly breathing,’ or—my favorite—‘just a second to sit and meditate’ when they are feeling overwhelmed.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. Students deserve to feel safe and included in their school communities, and building social skills and connectivity through yoga and mindfulness can help to combat bullying behaviors on school campuses.
One study evaluating 18 different student outcomes found that after one school year of participating in Yoga Ed. chair yoga in the classroom, students reported better relationships with their friends and family and fewer discipline problems at school (Chen 2014).
At Holy Nativity, online chair yoga classes give students and teachers a common language for settling conflict and for building relationships. For first graders who are “constantly working on self-control with their minds and bodies,” teacher Jenna Visoria describes how yoga helps promote respect for others, leading to greater empathy.
Bring Yoga to Your School Today
Connect with our Education Specialist to tailor a Mindful Movement Program that meets your school’s specific needs.