It’s back to school time, and families everywhere are busy buying supplies, sharpening pencils and trying to resume something of a schedule after a summer filled with adventures, sun and free time to explore and grow.
Thankfully our summer yoga practice (gotta love yoga in the park and yoga camp) has provided a wonderful foundation for the kids as they head back to school. Here are some yoga ABC’s which will help youth happily succeed in the classroom as well as in life. Be sure to include them in your child’s backpack along with the paper, books, markers and other essential school supplies.
A is for Attitude
Your attitude will influence every aspect of your life. When you approach your yoga practice with joyful enthusiasm, it is a creative, energetic, fluid experience. If you begrudgingly hit the mat you’re not going to get as much out of it, though you will feel better from moving your body and engaging your mind. Know that how you approach your school day will impact what you get out of it. Be positive. You’ve got to be there anyway, you may as well eek as much joy out of it as possible.
B is for Basics
When learning yoga asanas (poses) you start with beginner poses and work toward a more advanced, subtle expression of the postures. So it is with school work. You’ve got to master addition and subtraction before moving onto algebra. Sometimes we want to rush through the beginning stages to get to the fancy stuff, but the basic work and practice we do lays an important foundation to future growth and learning.
Remember how it felt the first time you rocked Half Moon Pose, Crow Pose or another pose you’d been working on? I do! Keep that feeling in mind at school. Be confident that you can meet any challenge. Be your best, giving genuine effort, and you just might surprise yourself. Let go of others opinions. Don’t worry if you are one of the popular crowd or not. Be yourself and know that you are amazing.
D is for Deliberate
When coming into yoga poses you follow specific instructions on where to place your feet, hands and other body parts. They are often given in a specific order. For example we do inward spiral before outward spiral. There is a reason to this. As you deliberately follow these instructions you are able to a achieve nuanced, energetic pose which at first glance may have appeared impossible. Be deliberate at school as well. Listen to your teachers. Follow instructions carefully. Proceed one step at at time. Be deliberate as you engage in school work. The results are well worth it.
E is for Energy
Prana (life force) resides within each one of us. We are able to direct, control and change our energy through breathing, meditation and asana practice. Strive to cultivate a calm, receptive energy. At times you may need to increase your energy through vigorous practice. Other times you may need to become more grounded and centered. Know that you are in charge and can influence your physical, mental and emotional energy.
F is for Focus
Ah, Tree Pose…so many lessons, one of which is single minded focus. Transfer that ability to the classroom and you will be a successful student. Focusing on and completing assignments, homework and other tasks is essential. There are tons of distractions which can interfere with the important work of learning. Focus on what needs to be done, get it done, then enjoy a sense of accomplishment while you indulge in your distraction of choice.
There I’ve got you started. Practicing yoga with kids and teens equips them with essential skills which will allow them to do their enthusiastic best in and out of the classroom. Remember that what we learn on the mat are lessons for life. What other essential yoga ABC’s can you think of?