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Let go of worrying….Teachers add yoga to curriculum

Yoga in the classroom can help students learn in so many ways from helping them to self regulate to become more focused to helping them connect with the material.

To understand some of the benefits read  “Yoga for Learning: by me in the 2015 Winter edition of The Holistic Parent  https://issuu.com/theholisticparent/docs/thp_-_winter_2015_digital

,and watch my webinar with self regulation expert, Dr, Stuart Shanker called “Yoga: An effective tool to enhance a child’s ability to self-regulate”http://www.self-regulation.ca/webinars.html  (it is webinar #6)

You can also read an older blog http://innovativewellness.ca/yoga-for-stress-management-wellness/yoga-tastic-school-program/

Also read the Feb 20, 2017 Chicago Tribune article to learn how  Oak Lawn teachers add yoga to literature curriculum http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-gatsby-yoga-st-0221-20170220-story.html

Jay Gatsby never let go of his past. Daisy Buchanan spent too much time worrying about her future.

But the Oak Lawn Community High School students who’ve read “The Great Gatsby” in Erika Johnson’s honors English class have spent time focusing on how to make the most of the present. After reading the classic American lit novel, they had extended discussion of the book in the school dance studio and capped it off with yoga.

Last summer, Johnson and fellow teacher Jessica Nickless attended a class that combined yoga and literature using the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Johnson liked the idea of fusing academics and yoga and arranged to have the yoga instructor, Liz Smith, join her students for a special 2-hour discussion and yoga session about the novel.

“Yoga is in the moment,” Johnson said. One of the major themes about the classic American lit novel is that the two main characters dwell on the past or the present, but don’t live in the moment.

“(I’m) teaching along a theme,” Smith explained. “Let go of the past. Let go of worrying about the future. Just be here in this moment, in this room, right now.” It’s a message that can resonate with high school students who may be stressing about college applications and their futures, or dwelling on the history of their relationships with peers, she said.

Johnson and Nickless had to get approval from English department chair David Johnson for what amounted to an in-school field trip of two class periods.

“He was pretty supportive,” Erika Johnson said. “We went over what we found were the merits, and what we thought the students would get out of it.”

Smith, a former classroom teacher who runs Serendipity Yoga and Wellness and teaches at a variety of area yoga studios, said she has been trying to build on a traditional book club to fuse yoga into it. She looks for themes in the novels — choosing some of her favorites that also are common on teen reading lists and high school syllabuses — that can then be focused on during yoga. Some of the titles she is looking at include “Fahrenheit 451,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and “The Kite Runner.”

Johnson said her students gave her positive feedback after the session, and some commented that yoga was much more challenging than they thought it would be, and some said that the yoga breathing exercises were very helpful.

“Our hope is that it helped them connect to the book,” Johnson said. She said yoga dovetails well with the social-emotional learning requirements of today’s schools, including ways to relieve stress.

“I do think it’s definitely something they can use,” Johnson said.

Paige Fumo Fox is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.