• children doing yoga poses

    Teaching Tips for Implementing Yoga & Mindfulness

As you explore our online classes, consider the following tips to support you and your students. 

“How do I make sure my students are comfortable and safe, in the best position for yoga?”

Cue: Place feet flat on the floor and sit forward in your chair. This helps students to feel grounded and self-aware.

“How do I do yoga with flexible seating arrangements?”

Cue with students’ desks, use a wall, or other stationary supports.

  • If appropriate, have students sit on the floor
  • If possible, lock the wheels on rolling chairs or put tennis balls on the bottom of rolling chairs

“How do I help my students increase their body awareness?”

Cue: Tap the body to bring awareness. For example, tap your shoulders, tap your ears, tap the top of your head in Mountain pose.

“My students are feeling awkward? What should I do?”

Normalize this response.

  • “Yoga might feel silly or strange to you, that’s ok.”
  • “Trying something new can be hard and learning takes time.”

“My students are resistant to doing the practices. How do I encourage them to practice?”

You may hear: “This is Dumb,” “This is Boring” → Connect the resources to something meaningful to them.

  • Athletics: many athletes practice yoga. Observe how a basketball player takes a breath before a free throw or a gymnast breathes before doing a flip.
  • Musicians/Dancers: artists who explore how they feel through different ways.
  • Culture/Honor the roots of yoga: share the history to help students understand the legacy of the practices.

“How do I work with my space?”

Too much space (gym/open space)

  • Choose a designated space and create a boundary (cones, colorful tape etc.)

Not enough space

  • Stagger students, fold mats in half, if available, consider going outside.
  • Adjust your lesson plan to meet the space.
    • For example, choose poses that require less space (Mountain pose, Eagle, Tree, and seated poses)
    • Play games that require little to no space (Appreciation Circle, Wash Away, Be a Mountain, I Am)

“My students are uncomfortable practicing with their peers. What do I do?”

If students feel uncomfortable practicing certain poses in front of their peers:

  • Consider your class setup (if space is available)
    • Mat circle so no one is behind students
  • Offer choice in practicing poses.
    • For example, students can choose Rock pose instead of Downward Dog.

“My students are having trouble with engagement. What should I do?”

  • Get creative! Combine yoga tools with storytelling, and include tactile elements such as mindfulness jars, or chimes. Engage the senses.
  • Invite student-voice and encourage them to reflect on their experiences in the moment or before / after class. This can also be a helpful assessment piece.
  • Co-create a playlist with your class to play during games, projects, or reflection time.

Friendly Reminder

It’s not about how it looks, it’s about how it feels. Naturally your students may look different doing various postures and that’s okay. Remember, where they are developmentally (physically and emotionally) may look different from student to student. For example if a student’s head is resting on their shoulder in Triangle pose, it may be that this student is still developing the strength and learning the coordination in their neck.

Practical Applications

Looking for more ways to bring the online support offline? Consider the following Practical Applications.

young lady doing breathing exercises

Take Time – In: Create a Classroom “Peace Corner” where children can choose to go when they are experiencing big feelings and need to take a “Time In” when they feel it is necessary.

Check-In: Ask students, “How can we practice being more self-aware today?” Share examples: breathing, thinking about what we are doing, focusing on our feelings.

List It: Together with students, create a list of yoga tools they can use when they feel dysregulated OR create a list of yoga tools that students can use for self care when they feel certain ways (i.e feel stress from a test, do Sunshine Arms Ocean Breath; feel tired after lunch, do Triangle Pose).

Create Habits: Practice relaxation after lunch and recess time and ask students to describe how they feel before relaxation, and then after relaxation.