To relax students, some California schools are adding something new to their daily routine that is actually very old – yoga.

The ancient practice of stretching and breathing, often combined with meditation և attention, is becoming more and more common in physical education classes and school programs for all school-age students. Teachers say it helps students cope with stress, develop physical and mental strength, especially valuable skills when students return to university after more than a year of distance learning.

«“Yoga is a great way for students to connect with them,” said Jesus Maldonado, an after-school teacher at Hueneme Elementary School in southern Ventura. “Sometimes, when a lot happens, they forget to think about themselves. This allows them to relax and concentrate. ”

Maldonado, who has never practiced yoga before teaching young children a few years ago, said the results were remarkable for his students.

“Before practicing yoga, children never wanted to do homework. “But now it is day and night,” he said. “It also helps me relax. “I used to feel really strong, but now I do yoga a few days a week, I can go on for the rest of my day.”

Teachers do not need special training or certification to guide students in yoga exercises that are essentially stretched poses combined with deep breathing. There are many free curricula that will help teachers incorporate yoga into their classes for just 10 minutes a day. It is ideally suited for a physical education class, but any teacher can incorporate yoga into their daily routine.

California is urging schools to increase their student health offerings when universities reopen. Schools can use money from several sources, including the CARES Act, to train yoga instructors, purchase a curriculum, or hire yoga teachers.

In some states, yoga has become a point of contention in schools, with some parents complaining that it is a religious practice. Alabama banned yoga for nearly 30 years before Gov. Kay Ivy signed a bill in May that allowed schools to engage in the word “namaste”, a salute in South Asia that is a major part of many yoga classes, as some conservatives say. . it’s a religious word.

California has a much friendlier relationship with yoga. The centuries-old Hindu tradition began to gain popularity in the United States in the late 19th century, երկրի In the 1950s, the country’s first yoga studios opened in Southern California. Since then, Californians have been doing good deeds, buzzing in the lotus position, raising their thighs down into a dog.

Terry Drain, a former PE teacher in Pleasanton who is now president of the Society of Health and Physical Education, said schools should consider a portion of their extra money this year to teach teachers yoga. He said yoga can be especially helpful in helping students adjust to a private school after distance learning.

“There is definitely a place for yoga in the K-12 physical education program. “Yoga is uncompetitive, և each student can participate at a level that suits him,” he said, noting that it promotes balance, mobility, strength, body-mind connection. “Students can use it to manage and reduce stress. And yoga is a lifelong activity. ”

Sherry Mulro, a physical education teacher at Palo Alto High School, is one of the few California PE teachers to conduct an annual yoga class. Students can take it as an elective or as a PE department և It has become so popular that it teaches three or four lessons a day, each with 20 to 30 students.

Teacher 1991 She started teaching yoga four years ago as a way to help students overcome anxiety and depression. Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has one of the highest rates of teen suicide in California due in part to strong pressure for academic and social success.

“It simply came to our notice then. It ‘s a pressure cooker. “I wanted to give students coping mechanisms,” Malraux said.

He begins each class by prompting students, for example, “What is your favorite place?” or “What is your favorite dish to cook?” և Gives students a few minutes to talk to each other. According to him, the art of conversation, which is often overlooked as students interact more and more through social media, can build community, help students feel less isolated.

Next, she guides them through yoga poses, mindfulness techniques, meditation, and breathing exercises, focusing on physical and mental relaxation.

“Throughout the school year, I see a significant increase in their strength and flexibility. “They can use techniques, such as breathing, to help them cope with other stressful things, such as tests, arguments, and communication.” “I feel that all children can benefit from the daily practice of yoga, just to have time every day when they do not think about school.”

Nika Chapin, a young junior from the Palo Alto Highlands, says Mulroy’s yoga class has helped him adjust to a busy schedule of homework and extracurricular activities, including playing for the school volleyball team. His sleep also improved.

“I was doing yoga at the end of the day, it was a great way to relieve stress long after I started doing homework and activities,” she said. “I was surprised that I did so much physical exercise. It was good because I got exercise, but we also have to learn to be careful. “There is no guarantee that it will work for everyone, but I did it.”

Nika’s classmate Morgan Greenlaw said he hated PE until he went to Mulrow Yoga class in high school. The non-competitive pace was easing, he immediately felt the physical and mental benefits, especially during the epidemic, he said. She now runs, exercises, does yoga every night before bed, and plans to help Malraux’s class this fall.

“At the end of the day, I was thinking about all the stressful events, it was hard to sleep,” he said. “When I do yoga, I think, ‘Okay, we’ll stop thinking about that.’ It really helps me relax. ”

Yoga can work for junior high school students. Nikki Curry came up with the idea a few years ago when she ran a children’s dance studio in the Orange County, sometimes frustrated by her inability to get students’ attention.

“Finally, one day I said, ‘Okay, let’s relax.’ “Let’s breathe a little.” It was a miracle discovery. “Simple yoga poses worked with children,” he said. “The benefits were real.”

Since then, she has been on a mission to make yoga accessible to elementary school children across California. She has developed a curriculum that meets the standards of the California AfterSchool Network և works with district education offices to promote yoga as an extracurricular activity.

“My hope is to reach as many children as possible, no matter what region or even state they live in, because I strongly believe in the positive impact of yoga, thinking, on individuals and communities as a whole,” said Karin.

Her curriculum includes weekly topics such as kindness և self-awareness, time to write in magazines և lots of songs: games. Children can choose animals such as cats or snakes. Purists may not accept the practice of traditional yoga, but each session ends with a quiet meditation.

“That’s what they love most,” said Karin. “The physical benefits are great, but I’m more concerned with teaching children to relax, to learn to relax, to control their emotions. I think the mental side of yoga is what children gain the most. ”

Victoria Otto is also on a crusade to bring stress to yoga students. A Chicago District High School teacher has written a free program, He travels to PE conferences across the country to try to persuade PE teachers to include yoga in their playlist.

Like the Curry curriculum, it blends in with other activities to keep students entertained. Otto’s class includes movements that he calls “um umba yoga” և “basketball yoga”, և he paints with the song “Champion” by Kerry Underwood.

“We have put a lot on these children. “They need a way out where they are not judged, where they can learn to take themselves.” “Yoga: meditation can help them develop difficult emotions. They learn that it is not good to be good. They learn that it is not a matter of emotions, but of how you react to them. ”

He said MS teachers are good at teaching yoga because they already understand the physiology of how to run a large classroom and how to work with a wide range of students, including those with severe disabilities.

“It’s the perfect way to greet students at university,” Otto said.

“Yoga can help students feel focused, focused, connected to their community,” he said. “It’s a way of moving and slowing down at the same time. That’s what we need right now. “

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