Educators

Because of yoga, students are recognizing they have the ability to calm their minds and relax their bodies in order to control their behavior and provide themselves with healthy self-care. They are stepping out of their comfort zones to try new things and are growing together as a class. I hope to involve more students in the program in the future as I honestly believe it would have a profound positive impact on our building culture and the health of our students.
— Sharee Thigpen, school counselor at South High
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The yoga strategies I incorporated into my classroom culture are small, but BIG. We are using yoga to transition back to learning after recess - what a much calmer way to continue our learning with focused, mindful brains and bodies.! We also transformed our classroom “Take a Break” spot to a yoga spot where students have access to all the tools from our Youth Yoga Project classes. There are so many powerful ways YYP has influenced our classroom community this year. Overall, I would say my students and I have benefited most from being able to remind ourselves to come back to a mindful, present, and calm attitude. I am incredibly grateful for everything YYP has done for our community, especially in terms of setting up our students and families for continued growth and success as human beings.
— Maggie Clegg, 3rd grade teacher at Stiles Elementary

Students

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Yoga has taught me how to relax when I am upset because I get upset a lot and now I can control when I get upset. I like how it is peaceful in yoga and never gets loud because when I walk in to yoga I have a headache, and I walk out without one.  My favorite part is the relaxing because in yoga you can relax your mind and just think. The breathing is really important too. If you’re mad you can just breathe to relax your mind.
— 9th grade student at South High School
 
I use belly breaths when I get mad or angry.  Yoga helps me because it makes my brain calm. More people should learn yoga because it helps people relax and feel safe.
— 3rd grade student at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School
 

From the Teachers at Central Crossing High School:

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How has mindfulness PD this year impacted your teaching and/or work with students?

  • It’s motivated me to be more mindful when I’m teaching - fewer outbursts when I’m frustrated, given me a tool to help anxious/struggling students

  • I’ve mostly just used breathing techniques this year.  I will implement in my classes at least 1x a week next year.

  • Made it more enjoyable.  I like coming to work more, which has made me a better teacher.

  • Helped me be more aware of myself so I was in a better mindset for my students.

  • I’ve learned several new practices that I have taken with me and use myself.  It created a dialogue around mindfulness among staff and students. I’ve started modeling mindfulness practices in class and talk about it with students

  • I see the growth and benefits because I’m lucky enough to have YYP teach to my class.

  • Given me something to look forward to doing - something that positively impacts my students right away.

  • It has opened up conversation about emotion regulation to teachers and allowed for buy-in - since school counselors can’t be everywhere the help in training others has been a great benefit to reach more students.

How has mindfulness impacted your effectiveness as an educator? If so, how?

  • It’s given me a sense of control over myself but also given me alternative ways to redirect/refocus students

  • Relaxed me to practice in my life and see benefits - now I can model for students

  • I can use my “down” time for effective planning instead of de stressing or recovering from teaching classes

  • Makes me more aware of my attitude towards topics and students.  Helps me readjust during the day. Gives me a little bit of me time while here at school.

  • I’ve been more mindful, and I think it’s been a positive influence in class.

  • It has given me tools to slow my class down and get them to refocus.

  • More interaction with various groups of students.  Bringing tools to them that are immediately useful

  • It allows me to use specific tools to help students regulate before engaging in conversation about what is happening for them.

 

How has mindfulness impacted your classroom culture?

  • It’s given students a sense of control they didn’t have before

  • On days we use it or practice it I notice less hostility in class, less anger, the bulk of the students have more focus.

  • Impacted my teaching because I have focused more on myself this year.

  • I have not been very consistent, so it’s hard to say, but next year I would like to introduce it early on and maintain a consistent practice.

  • Students have gotten to know each other and have built a sense of community.

  • Positive remarks from students who engage has brought positive vibes to the school.  It has helped individual students with exam prep and to lower anxiety as well.

  • We are helping students to calm themselves before getting into trouble.

 

Students:

3rd grade students at Devonshire Elementary

What is the most important thing you have learned in yoga?

  • I learned I am in control. I have tools to use when I’m stressed and anxious.

  • I learned how to calm myself. I am able to sit quietly for a long time. After that, my day is always better.

  • Ways to calm myself when I’m stressed about testing. I use alternate nostril breathing when I have a headache.

  • I learned I can do the sun sequence in the morning to stretch my body and get me ready for the day.

How do you plan to use what you learned in yoga in your life moving forward?

  • When I am stressed and when tests are on the way. I know that will help me all the time in school.

  • I plan to do lots of belly breathing when I am either over excited or nervous.

  • If I get mad I will remember to breathe. I am definitely going to use it so I don’t fight with my brother at home.

  • I’m going to teach yoga to my family. I know a lot of great things that will help everyone.

9th grade students at South High School

What has been your favorite part about yoga?

  • My favorite part about yoga this year was learning how to relax when you are upset because I get upset a lot and now I can control when I get upset.

  • Yoga helps you relax and it takes your mind off of stuff.

  • I like how it is peaceful and never gets loud because when I walk in here with a headache and I walk out without one.

  • My favorite part was relaxing because I was really stressed out.  

  • My favorite part was the stress relief.  I’m always stressed by school and this helped relieve some of that stress.

  • My favorite part this year was the relaxing parts.  I liked it because it made me calm.

  • My favorite part about yoga is that I have a period each week when I can go to relax stress.

  • I like the relaxation because it helps me wake up for the next class. The most important thing I learned was the breathing because it helps me control my behavior.

  • My favorite part was when we got to relax because it helped me with my stress.  It is better to relax and be calm than to freak out.

  • My favorite part was relaxing so you can relax your mind and just think.  The most important thing is to breath if your mad and breath to relax your mind.

  • My favorite part about yoga is having fun with my classmates.

  • My favorite part about yoga this year was that I learned a lot of poses and then when I’m in a bad state I can use these poses.  

  • My favorite part about yoga is that I calm down because I am always mad.

What has been the most important thing you have learned?

  • When something is wrong you can use breathing like we did in yoga class.  Because I think it works.

  • The most important thing I learned was that I can use yoga to relax my body and teach it to other people.  I use yoga to relax my mind when I’m angry.

  • The most important things is doing the stretches.  It helps you body and it calms your nerves because my body always be hurting until I stretch.

  • The most important thing I learned was how to slow my breathing so I can concentrate better.

  • The most important thing I have learned is how to lose my anger.

  • The most important thing I learned is yoga is that I can relax anywhere just by closing my eyes.

  • The most important thing I learned is that there is something I can do when I get mad.

  • The most important thing I have learned in yoga is to breathe because it clears your mind.

  • The most important thing I have learned is breathing because it’s calming and I hope to use it to be able to calm down before spazzing.

  • The most important thing I have learned is that you should always take deep breaths.  When I’m stressed with school, I’ll stop and do centering breaths.

  • The most important thing I learned was to do breaths when you are mad or upset.  When I get mad, I will do 3 breaths.

  • The most important thing I learned in yoga was to handle my anger.  I will use it to calm me down when I’m mad about something.

 

How will you use yoga in your life moving forward?

  • I plan to use the stuff I learned to prepare myself for basketball games and performing shows.

  • I plan to use yoga to calm myself down when I’m almost unable to breathe. I have really bad asthma and the breathing helps.

  • I plan to use yoga in my life to stay calm in situations.

  • I plan to use the yoga to relax myself after or before a test.

  • I plan to use the breathing techniques to help me go to sleep faster.

  • Before taking tests I use the breathing to release the tension in my body. My least favorite part about yoga is that it ended.

  • I will use the yoga at home to show my brothers and sisters.

  • I plan to use yoga when I have a lot on my mind.

  • When I’m mad, I use yoga.

 

 

Parents:

  • Yoga has taught my son to be more calm with his siblings.

  • Because of yoga, my daughter is more calm and approaches situations differently.  These are great tools for helping her manage her stress.

  • My daughter really loves the yoga program.  She comes home and talks about it after each session.

  • My daughter is very interested in every practice she learns in yoga, especially in physical movement and poses.  She is teaching us (her family) everything she is learning.