BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
While you are probably aware of the numerous benefits of yoga for kids, chances are you aren’t sure where to begin. The thought of incorporating yoga into your classroom can be intimidating. But don’t worry. Through this article I will simplify the process of introducing yoga in your classroom.
Before we begin, I need to address a major concern of teaching yoga in schools.
Despite the many benefits of yoga, it can also be met with some degree of skepticism. Critics of yoga often view it as a connection to Hinduism as a form of religious prayer. People often link yoga with Sanskcrit names for the yoga poses. They also imagine yoga as a lot of ritualistic chanting. The yoga I teach my kids couldn’t be further from this. And to distance the practice of yoga from any religious aspects, I highlight both the physical and mental benefits of yoga for my kids.
Yoga For Students
Yoga can be an awesome total body workout that can be done with with little to no equipment. A yoga workout will improve both strength and mobility while improving aerobic fitness as students move through the various poses. It can be done almost anywhere allowing teachers to use it both inside of their classroom as well as outdoor facilities at their school. Yoga can even be used through distance learning with the help of visual cues and streaming videos.
Teaching yoga to elementary students doesn’t have to be difficult. In as little as 6 minutes, you can gain the benefits of yoga in your classroom
Yoga is a great way to teach kids body awareness by strengthening the neuromuscular, or mind-body, connection. Yoga also can be linked to various district and state standards. For instance, the California physical education standards focus on students being able to demonstrate proficient movement patterns. This can be difficult considering students from kindergarten through high school are in a near constant state of growth and development. As students are getting taller their body is always having to relearn how to coordinate safe and efficient movement. Through yoga the can teach kids various dynamic movements and incorporate it into the active recovery process.
Finally, yoga can help students learn to calm their bodies. Studies have linked stress with the onset of depression in adolescents as well as adults. By connecting breathing to the movements of yoga, students can trigger the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This will act as hormonal reset to help counteract stress as a healthy coping mechanisms.
Yoga For Elementary Students
When working with younger kids, I like begin by connecting yoga to basic movement patterns. Chances are they have already done similar activities with other teachers which will bring a feeling of familiarity. I might not even call it yoga. Instead we will blend it into our daily movement activities.
With simple instructions, students can learn to move through various yoga poses.
From there we teach students about movement literacy through our yoga basics. It’s a great way to get them moving during the school day. And it can be expanded into a physical education lesson or used a short “brain break” during class.
Yoga For High School Students
Yoga is a fantastic way for high school students to build a sense of movement literacy. It’s also an individual activity where students get to take ownership of learning. I am constantly reminding my kids that yoga is a process. Each day we strive to get a little better than the day before. Before each lesson begins I get to remind them, “yoga is something you practice. It’s not something you perfect.” This way they know it’s about the journey and getting the most out of each class for themselves. Yoga can be very appealing to students because it not a competition. We do not keep score in yoga and classify winners and losers.
Most kids enter into my class having some knowledge of basic movements such as a plank or a lunge. Through yoga we can build up on their fitness level and allow them to gain mastery over the movements. These “yoga flows” can become an effective stand alone workout or part of a physical education unit.
Yoga Basics For Beginners
Regardless of how old your students are, there is going to be a range of ability levels for your students. In building my lessons for teaching yoga, I focus the activity around four foundational poses that we can build from: standing poses, twisting poses, plank poses, and balance poses.
For instance, a starting activity for students may be working on transitioning from a standing position to a high plank by walking their hands out through an inchworm movement. While this may seem overly simple, it can be very changing for students who have limited hamstring flexibility and core strength. As they are working on perfecting these movements and poses I can help guide them as to what they should be feeling through their muscles and joints.
The inchworm is a great starting movement for beginners to help them learn movement literacy and body awareness.
Beginning A Simple Yoga Routine
Simply having a copy of printable yoga movement cards is all some need to get started introducing yoga into their classroom. However, other teachers may want a more structured yoga curriculum to guide you. When I first got started I found several free resources online. However, most were not designed to be taught as part of a unit. They were Youtube videos that were more fitting for someone already comfortable with yoga. And I needed more direct instruction for my students.
Thankfully I found a few yoga programs I could stream for my students that really taught the process and gave modifications. Much like how I structure other activities, they allowed everyone to find success. If you would like more information on these programs, I’d love to guide you in their direction.
Until next time,
Chances are you’ve heard the term “clean eating” before. But have you wondered what foods are considered clean and why is it important? I’d like to share with you a little bit about our story of how clean eating has improved our health and fitness – contributing to our combined 150 pound weightloss while allowing us to take several daily medications.
What is clean eating?
When we think of foods that are “clean” we are talking about whole, real foods that have been minimally processed or altered from their natural state. For instance, juicing is a form of processing as we alter the orange when we put it through a juice to create orange juice. But this form or processing is nowhere near what happens when foods are processed for commercial sale by stripping away many of the nutrients found in parts of the foods while adding in a bunch of chemicals and food-like products to alter taste or increase shelf life.
When I think of clean eating, I tend to ask myself if what I’m eating is something that my grandparents would have had access to. There foods were not bleached with chemicals, genetically modified, or combined with artificial colors and flavors to play tricks with the hormones of our body.
Why are processed food bad for us?
When it comes down to processed foods, it’s all about the bottom line. Food companies are in the business of generating profits and to help the bottom line processing foods allow them to cost less to make, last longer, and increase our consumption. Processed foods generally have high amounts of extra sugar, sodium, and fat added to them along with various other chemicals to make them taste, small, and look better.
Why should we eat clean?
According to WebMD, when we eat whole foods we are getting the food in its “natural” state. We are getting food that still has all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients still intact. According to Tata Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association eating whole foods has all sorts of benefits. “If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, relying on more whole foods is a great place to start,” says Lucia L. Kaiser, PhD, a nutrition specialist from the University of California, Davis.
Many studies have shown the connection between eating a clean diet and the reduction of several diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. And there is a synergy that occurs when many whole foods are eaten together. The body does not work in compartments but instead everything is connected together. So when whole foods make up the diet the body can use the nutrients from these foods to optimize the chemical reactions that allow for the fighting of disease, growth, and repair.
Getting started with a clean eating plan
If clean eating is something you would like to begin, then I’d like to invite you to join our next FREE 7 day clean eating challenge. We will give you the meal plan, grocery list, and videos showing you how to prep your meals. In addition we will offer support and accountability through our private Facebook groups along with one-on-on assistance as needed.
You can use this link to sign up. We run these group on a monthly basis and try to limit the number of people to maximize the experience for our participants. If this sounds like a perfect fit for you, sign up today!
Until next time.
I know I’m not normal (let me explain). I’m in the small minority of people who actually like working out. I love to run. I like lifting weights. And I enjoy the feeling of being exhausted.
While we all know that we need to exercise more and eat healthier it’s easier said than done. Changing our eating habits takes us out of our comfort zone and finding the motivation to work out can be a struggle.
But what if working out was actually fun? Would you give it a try if there were no push-ups, squats, or burpees (yes, I said no burpees)?
Pam fell into the common routine of working all day and being so exhausted that the evenings consisted mainly of sitting on the couch and just watching TV. She was so tired that she didn’t even have the energy to play with her kids. Over time the pounds began piling up. Finally after her husband brought home a scale to track his weight she realized how much things had gotten out of control.
Finding the Right Workouts
Pam began using dance cardio fitness as a way to exercise without it feeling like work. She was able to push through many of the metal barriers that held her back in the past and continued long enough this time around to see the benefits of her healthier habits.
This lead to improved confidence as the weight began coming off and she continued to challenge herself with progressively harder workouts. In the past year Pam has lost almost 50 pounds using at home fitness programs such as Hip Hop Abs, Cize, and the 21 Day Fix.
Pam also credits the support of an online fitness community to help her stay constant and accountable to her goals.
“It was awesome keeping up with everyone, seeing their posts about their struggles, and sharing recipes.”
Try the same workouts as Pam for FREE
I’m not surprised by Pam’s results. Every day through our complete fitness program of workouts, nutrition, and support we receive message from our challengers about their weightloss success and their excitement to live a healthier and more fulling life. And while they are not typical, neither are you.
If you would like to get started on your journey, we will help you every step of the way. Email me directly or send me a message through our Facebook page and I would be happy to become your free coach. I can also share with you my code so you can try the same workouts Pam used FREE for 30 days.
The most important thing is that you find a program that fits your needs. Because if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
With Thin Mints in the house I consistently find myself wanting to snack on them in the evenings. But years of eating these Girl Scout favorite has taught me that I have little self control and 3 cookies and quickly turn into eating the whole sleeve. So while it’s better that I stay away from the Thin Mint cookies, I’ve found a great alternative that I can enjoy year. I call it my Vegan Thin Mint Protein Shake.
It’s a simple recipe that can be made in less than 3 minutes. And best of all, it won’t kill my fitness goals and leave me regretting poor eating choices at the end of the day. If you’ve read some of my story in prior posts, you know that I’ve struggles with late night and fatigue snacking for most of my adult life.
You could use a chocolate whey protein powder if you prefer, but I’ve used vegan chocolate Shakeology today. Also, depending on the desired thickness of your shake, you could use either water (thinner shake) or a milk product (thicker shake). I used 30 calorie Almond Milk simply because that’s what we had in our refrigerator. The final variable is if you are using peppermint extract or a peppermint essential oil. The essential oil is much stronger in taste and so I would recommend using just a drop or 2. But I’ve seen similar recipes recommending up to 1/4 tsp when using the extract.
So here are the ingredients:
- 1 scoop of chocolate vegan Shakeology
- 8 oz of almond milk
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 1 cup of ice
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy. It’s that simple. And best of all a 200 calorie shake is just as satisfying as a 640 calorie sleeve of Thin Mints, but without the guilt.
To your health,