YOGA IN SCHOOLS
Before COVID-19, mental health among children were already on the rise. A 2018 study conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Melbourne University shows that the mental health and well being of Australian students has declined significantly since 2003. Nearly half of the students surveyed reported feeling “very stressed” (up from 28% in 2003). The number of students who reported feeling confident while doing difficult school work has fallen from 76% to 59%. The findings also show an increasing lack of resilience among a growing number of young people.
COVID-19 has resulted in further deterioration of mental health in children The constant disruption in education settings, uncertainty on when they will be back at school again, social isolation from their friends and relatives, not being able to go to the park and playgrounds, play sport, watch movies, go to birthday parties etc – children these days have nothing to look forward to.
In addition to this, watching their parents deal with job losses, financial or health issues, as well as seeing news coverage of COVID-19 can be unsettling, and at times, distressing for children. This can have a significant impact on their mental health, more so if they are already at high risk.
Stress can also impede the ability to focus, concentrate and self-regulate emotions. These factors can lead to poor academic performance, early drop outs and participation in risky behaviour.
Australian children spend 13 years in school. Schools therefore have the power to equip children with tools and techniques that help them take personal responsibility for managing their physical and mental health and wellbeing from an early age.
How can yoga help?
Namaste Yogis can help support the children in the school community through our dedicated children's yoga program. Yoga is a modality that has been proven to be effective in helping children manage their mental health and wellbeing. Yoga can help children focus, self-regulate their emotions, instil a sense of calmness as well as grounding to help children build resilience, optimism and self-confidence. This helps children deal with change, while also improving their physical strength and flexibility.
Research conducted in the US has shown that introducing yoga in schools can have positive effects on student concentration, self-regulation, attention, anxiety, stress, mood and resilience.
Yoga in Primary Schools
Yoga classes for schools use specific children's yoga therapy poses (based on the Zenergy framework), using meridian line therapy techniques as well as traditional yoga poses. These helps address specific issues such as stress & anxiety, depression, diabetes, digestion, focus and concentration, weight management, whilst also building strong backs and healthy lungs.
Yoga classes are developed with the child in mind, making sure the classes are age appropriate and engaging. Classes includes breathing exercises, story telling (younger primary school age children only), individual, partner & group yoga poses, mindfulness and reflection, yoga games, relaxation and meditation. Each class is tailored to the children's energy and the group dynamics on the day.
Children are given the opportunity to co-create the class within the boundaries of the theme. This encourages working together, self-expression and creativity, helping to develop social skills whilst giving children the tools to manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Our classes start with a warm up and breathing exercise to help centre and educate the children on the importance of the breath. This is followed by a suite of yoga poses, mindfulness, relaxation and meditation.
The duration for yoga classes depend on the age:
Prep / Foundation: 30 minutes
Grades 1 to 4 / Juniors & Middles: 45 minutes
Grades 5 to 6 / Seniors: 45 - 60 minutes
QUOTE - A dedicated pricing package can be discussed and put together for the school, which would consider booking frequency and volume. Please get in touch with us for a quote.
Yoga in Secondary Schools
Yoga classes for secondary schools also use specific children's yoga therapy poses (based on the Zenergy framework), using meridian line therapy techniques as well as traditional yoga poses. The use of this method becomes even more important as teenagers face more complex issues in comparison to Primary School children. They are going through a lot of changes - their bodies are changing and they are going through a roller coaster of emotions due to puberty. Add to this the pressure of performing well academically on tests and VCE exams, as well as making choices about their future as they enter adulthood.
Add to this the uncertainties resulting from COVID-19, students in particular VCE students, need some down time to help manage their stress levels, as stress can impede the ability to focus and learn.
For secondary students, yoga classes can help address issues such as stress & anxiety, depression, focus & concentration, diabetes, menstruation, weight management, improving self confidence and building strong backs.
Yoga classes for teenagers start with a warm up (which becomes even more important as the child gets older and less physically active), breathing exercises, yoga poses (individual, partner and group poses), mindfulness, reflection, yoga games, relaxation and meditation. For teenagers, the amount of time spent on relaxation increases in duration. Relaxation can be as long as 15 to 20 minutes.
A 60 minutes yoga class is highly recommended for secondary students, especially for VCE students.
QUOTE: A dedicated pricing package can be discussed and put together for the school, which would consider booking frequency and volume. Please get in touch with us for a quote.
15 June 2018, Student Stress on the rise - report, The Educator
Ferreira - Vorkapic C, Feitoza JM, Marchioro M, Simoes J, Kozasa E and Telles S, 2015, Are there benefits from teaching yoga at schools?, Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Butxer B, Ebert M. Telles S and Khalsa S, 2016, School-based Yoga Programs in the United States: A Survey, HHS Public Access, US