Mary Daboul, Teacher
Mary was looking for resources to help her adapt yoga to the classroom.
Mary Daboul teaches yoga to children in preschools, elementary schools, and daycares throughout Western Massachusetts. While she has maintained a yoga and meditation practice for herself over the course of the past two decades, Mary has also continually sought out opportunities to learn and to share what she knows with children–to not only deepen her own insight, but to light up her community with the benefits that yoga can offer for the next generation.
“Yoga is a wonderful tool to introduce mindfulness, body awareness, sensations, and self-regulation to kids,” says Mary. “It provides some physical fitness, and fosters community and self-awareness in a group.“
Knowing well the transformative benefits of mindfulness from her own experiences in parenting and everyday life, Mary could see the clear interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits of yoga for children, and understand the practicality of implementing yoga in a variety of different environments. Combining this passion for yoga with her love for education, Mary has made children’s yoga a part of her life’s work, and between yoga retreats, kids yoga trainings, mindfulness workshops, self-study, and her daily practice, it’s easy to gather that Mary is firmly rooted in the field, eager to continually explore and learn. It’s no surprise, then, that when the chance arose for Mary to expand to her knowledge base further through Yoga Ed.’s online chair yoga workshops, she was excited to get started.
Why choose to study with Yoga Ed.? For Mary, it was all about the timing. For much of her career as a children’s yoga teacher, Mary’s focus had been on preschool and afterschool programs for elementary students. As she encountered more opportunities to bring yoga into the classrooms, she was in need of resources to help adapt her lessons. Tools for Teachers was exactly what she was looking for.
I’d like to do more classroom yoga and often classrooms don’t have a lot of space for movement. I wanted to learn how to use the chairs for modified yoga poses, and I love learning new ways to teach.Mary Daboul
Designed to be adaptive to all the obstacles that classrooms can pose — from tight, crowded spaces to a limited time frame — Tools for Teachers provides practical, effective yoga tools to teach chair yoga. Through the self-paced online workshop, Mary learned chair yoga poses, breathing exercises, yoga games, and relaxation that she could bring with her into schools, along with modifications to make classes accessible for any student from grade Pre-K through high school. “I love the lessons and the lesson format,” says Mary. They’ve allowed her to shapeshift lessons to meet students needs from day to day, no matter where she holds classes in the school.
Mary’s goals following the workshop were to be able to “bring yoga to more elementary schools,” and eventually to teach to older students, who could benefit from some mindful moments to reduce stress and promote self-awareness in the midst of their routines. So far, she has already been able to bring her newfound skills into the classrooms, teaching chair yoga lessons to second graders without missing a beat.
In the end, Mary found that studying with Yoga Ed. online made practical sense for her work, not only allowing her to learn on her own time, but providing tools that are flexible to the needs of the classrooms she teaches in as well. Yoga Ed.’s “lessons and scripts are straightforward, and the perfect amount of time for a quick classroom break,” says Mary. They’re great “to be used as a daily mindful practice, energy booster, or focusing activity before a test or learning a new subject.” And knowing well the variety of bodies and abilities that show up in a classroom each day, she observes that the “reminders to do what feels right for you and giving the options for modification are great,” a much needed check-in for herself and her students alike.
Moving forward, Mary is optimistic about her capacity to continue working in schools. “I think there is so much information and research about yoga that most teachers and administrations can see or imagine the positive results,” she says. With momentum for more mindful schools gaining,, there’s no telling how many more students will benefit from Mary’s dedication, but Yoga Ed. is ready to continue supporting her learning journey every step of the way.
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