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With the July 4th weekend behind us, the summer is bound to slip quickly away into the start of a new school year. As administrators, you may be working through the summer months to ensure a smooth and successful start, but as you know, it’s never a guarantee. When teachers and students are back in session, there is always a rough transition as everyone gets reacquainted with the normal schedule. After hours of sunshine—and sleep—students can be restless and rowdy, and with unfamiliar faces and new challenges, teachers can be easily jaded.

Wouldn’t you like to help your teachers channel their students’ energy in a productive way, and curb any potential negative behavior before it begins?

Take the edge off of the back to school grind by bringing Brain Breaks into your classrooms. Brain Breaks are short, five to ten-minute pauses in classroom instruction that give students the opportunity to take a breather, refresh their minds and get ready to refocus and learn some more. Bringing some movement into the day through chair yoga can help kids recharge, or alternatively, to dispel any excess energy. Plus, because physical activity supports a learning brain, yoga breaks can help students perform better, optimizing the time you have in the classroom.

Chair yoga is ideal for classroom settings because:

  • It doesn’t require any outside equipment, training, or experience.
  • With just a simple set of instructions, all of your teachers will be well-equipped to insert some yoga into their individual schedules.
  • The breathing exercises, poses and relaxation techniques can be adjusted to any students and any classroom, regardless of experience or capabilities.
  • Teachers will gain a valuable classroom management tool  that can serve them year-round.

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The following set of breathing exercises, poses and relaxations can be taken together, or individually, as short breaks in the school day. Teachers can incorporate these tools at the start or end of a day, in between subjects, or before tests, to expel excess energy and engage the class on the material at hand.

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Sounding Breath

Instructions:

  1. Begin seated in your chair. Make sure both feet are touching the floor and you are sitting up tall in your body. Cover your ears with your hands so you can hear no sound.
  2. Inhale and exhale evenly through your nose.
  3. As you listen to your breath, think of a word to describe the sound of the breath.

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Shoulder Circles

Instructions:

  1. Begin seated in your chair. Make sure both feet are touching the floor and you are sitting up tall in your body. Cover your ears with your hands so you can hear no sound.
  2. Inhale and exhale evenly through your nose.
  3. As you listen to your breath, think of a word to describe the sound of the breath.

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Warrior I

Instructions:

  1. Begin standing behind your chair in Mountain Pose with your feet hips distance apart.
  2. Inhale, bring your hands to your hips.
  3. Exhale, step your left foot back an entire leg’s distance keeping your right foot facing forward.
  4. Inhale, bend into your front right knee, with your back leg straight.
  5. Exhale, bring your arms to the chair (Variation 1) or reach your arms up to the sky (Variation 2).
  6. Breathe.
  7. When you are ready, bring your hands back to your hips and step your left foot forward to Mountain Pose.
  8. Repeat on the other side.

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Legs Up The Chair

Instructions:

  1. Begin lying down on your back, facing toward your chair.
  2. Inhale, lift your legs up to the air.
  3. Exhale, bend at the knees and place your legs on the chair.
  4. Inhale, flex your toes towards your shins.
  5. Exhale, bring your hands to rest on your belly.
  6. Breathe.
  7. When you are ready, bring your legs off of the chair and bend your knees as you turn to one side.
  8. Calmly return to seated in your chair.

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Hero Day

Directions:

Have students come to lying in Legs up the Chair or Forward Fold at the Desk.

“Close your eyes, breathe, and rest. As if you’re falling asleep, let go of all thoughts. Just feel your breath. I’ll wait for everyone to settle, sigh and melt, release any wiggles, movement and tension. When you’re silent and still, I’ll know you are ready to listen. With every breath, you become more and more relaxed… great.

“Think of someone whom you admire. Focus on a person whom you’d like to be like when you grow up, one of your heroes. Now, imagine being that person. Keep your eyes closed and fully experience being in his or her body and mind. Like an actor taking on a character role, notice how you hold yourself, what your inner life is like, how you breathe, think, see and relate to the world and others. Take a few moments enjoying your time imaging yourself to embody the qualities of this person you admire.”

Pause for a few moments.

“Now it’s time to come back to the room. Gently begin to wiggle your fingers and your toes. Take any final stretches that feel good to you on your back or your side. When you are ready, come back to a comfortable seated position in your chair.”