Roll out your mats and stretch your limbs – today is the International Day of Yoga!
According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study, the top five reasons people start yoga are: flexibility (61%), stress relief (56%), general fitness (49%), improve overall health (49%) and physical fitness (44%).
It’s those reasons and more why St. Joseph’s Indian School nurse and wellness coach, Ronda, began teaching yoga to students at St. Joseph’s.
This past school year, she taught yoga to grades one through eight for a 40-minute class period. She began class with a little bit of centering. Then she would introduce an activity of yoga poses to the students before ending with rest time to relax and shut their brains off for a little while.
Ronda said yoga provides balance, strength and relaxation – especially when students know they have a place that’s all their own during the yoga sessions.
“When you come to class, you’re on a mat and I tell the kids this, ‘That’s your safe place. This area belongs to you’,” said Ronda.
Yoga often gives students a sense of calm. It can help assist the healing process for students who need a break from stressors of their everyday lives. Ronda said it also provides a safe place to deal with any trauma students may have experienced in the past they are presently working through.
Practicing yoga also gives students a break from the hustle and bustle of life, which Ronda says is very important.
“I don’t think anyone practices that enough – just to be still,” she said.
Next year, Ronda and Trond, wellness coordinator at St. Joseph’s, are putting a focus on second and fourth grade students and yoga. Similar to a case study experiment, they plan to measure those students’ classroom performance, as well as balance, to see if yoga has any measurable assistance in helping the students excel in other areas.
“The goal is to teach our students to practice balance on their mat, and then take those tools into their everyday lives,” said Ronda.
It’s her hope that students take the lessons they learned during yoga class with them as they grow up.
“I hope they remember one part of it – to remember to take a breath,” she said. “Just to take a breath.”