Jenna Wright, Teacher
Learn how Jenna supports her students with chair yoga.
Born and raised in England, for the past three years Jenna has been living in Doha, Qatar, where she teaches Travel and Tourism to secondary students. Although she has served as a tutor and educator, her real passion is for the special education needs of the students she teaches, and focuses her time teaching classes whose students have more needs and developmental disabilities.
In order to really support her students in the classroom and beyond, Jenna is always looking to expand her teaching toolkit, and saw a natural connection between the yoga she practices in her personal life, and the needs of the kids in her class. “I love my yoga practice,” says Jenna, “and in a developing country, with lots of pressures because of the fast-paced development, I feel that it is very important for many of our students to slow down and be in the moment with their breath.” Jenna was motivated to find a way to bring yoga into her classroom, but without easy access to courses to attend close by, she took to the internet in search of an online solution.
With just a little bit of searching, Jenna stumbled upon Yoga Ed.’s online courses. She has found that both her students and her teaching have benefited from the skills and knowledge she’s gained. From the online workshops, Jenna has been able to implement chair yoga in primary and secondary classrooms, and as a part of individual sessions with her higher need students. She worked with school administrators to develop a plan to bring chair yoga to a specialized group of students that also work with the school counselors and school psychologist, and according to Jenna, “the benefits of the chair yoga have been amazing in such a short space of time.”
Opportunity for Awareness + Reflection
Typically, Jenna pairs chair yoga sessions with positive affirmations and gratitude statements, giving her students the chance to not only tune in to their inner world through movement but to cultivate a positive self-image and concept. Even students with a wide range of special education needs, from processing to hand-eye coordination, have been engaged in these sessions, expressing gratitude for many things that many outsiders may have otherwise labeled as obstacles. This has been encouraging for Jenna and others, who “believe that the yoga is giving them opportunities of awareness and reflection” in order to grow.
A Space to Relax
For her primary school students, Jenna has observed that simply giving students permission to relax has been a game changer. “ Oftentimes, students leave a full day of school to attend hours of tutoring on an evening,” Jenna explains. “Our students need to have time to focus on themselves.” For overworked and stressed kids, whether in the U.S. or Qatar, being permitted to slow down and recharge can help them feel more in control over their schedule, so they can not only feel better but perform better. Plus, through chair yoga, Jenna’s students have also learned concrete breathing techniques they can take with them wherever they go.
Many students have been thankful for being allowed to relax in school with me,” says Jenna, “while others have enjoyed the different breathing techniques because it makes them feel better.
Results you can SEE
Even for some of Jenna’s students who have only done one or two sessions, the feedback is often instant. Right away, students report benefits, while Jenna has noticed an improvement in her own teaching as she implements new skills and routines. “It’s amazing, and I believe that as they progress with the chair yoga, the benefits will be even more notable by other teachers involved around their daily life in school.”
Beyond what she sees in the classroom, Jenna feels like she has gotten her money’s worth with Yoga Ed.’s online courses. Feeling equipped with the information to be confident in the classroom is key, and when she needs additional support, she knows Yoga Ed. has her back. “The support from Brynne and the team has been very personal and encouraging. You can tell this is a organization that cares and wants to make a difference in children’s lives.”
The courses are very easy and accessible,” Jenna notes. “They really give you knowledge on the benefits of each move mentally and physically.
In the next year, Jenna hopes to be continuing on her journey elsewhere, moving from Qatar to another country. While the move will be bittersweet, Jenna is excited for a fresh start, in part so that she “can really try and implement Yoga Ed. from the beginning,” empowering a whole new set of students with skills for a healthier, happier future.
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