In 2020, the Victorian Government announced an initiative to help support schools in getting children moving again following months of lockdown. The Department of Education defines “Active School” as one where the school encourages physical activity through a whole school approach that goes beyond traditional physical education and sports to promote physical activity at every opportunity”.
Children and Teen’s yoga is an innovate way to improve physical activity outcomes in relation to the priority areas of the Active Schools framework.
Active Classroom – Yoga can be incorporated during the student’s break times. After a yoga break, children are more likely to return feeling relaxed, more focused and therefore more receptive to learning. Teachers are supported as the class becomes more focussed. A yoga program can also support the school community’s restorative practices. A calm and centred mind helps children make better decisions and have better relationships with themselves and others in the community.
Active Recreation – Yoga is an active recreation practice that can benefit the whole child. Yoga is unique in that it not only improves physical activity through the poses but also helps strengthen our children’s mental health through the breathing exercises, mindfulness and reflection exercises, relaxation and meditation.
Yoga is non-competitive. This helps children improve their self-esteem, it encourages an increase uptake of physical activity in the school and the practices can be done at home until they are older without the need for any equipment. Yoga also helps children become more mindful of their movements which can help prevent injuries in later life.
What is unique about yoga is that the importance of using the breath. Without the breath, yoga is just another form of physical activity. In yoga, there is a powerful connection between the breath and the mind. The breath can help children identify thoughts that may not be helpful to them and allows them to shift any unhealthy thought patterns before they become entrenched, helping their minds become calm, still and focussed. This can help children with decision making in all aspects of their lives. This helps children live a life of joy and peace.