Yoga in Schools: Cash Grab Abuses Trust of Teachers & Students.

Via Donna Freeman
on Aug 20, 2010
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Yoga Journal Misses the Point of Yoga in the Classroom?

Teaching yoga in schools is a way for yoga teachers to expand their reach—and their income.

The above statement from Yoga in Schools, a Yoga Journal business article, has kept me up at night.

The gist of this article is that teaching yoga in schools is a great way to make quick cash. Get a little training and then get paid well (the article sites examples of $150, and $200 per class) through a readymade, captive audience.

Really? Is this why we bring yoga into schools?

In addition, it seems out of date, citing only three organizations working to bring yoga to school children. If YJ truly had the pulse of the kids’ yoga community they’d be aware of such remarkable organizations such as Shanti Generation, Yoga4Classrooms from Childlight Yoga, BentonLearning, the Newark Yoga Movement, Headstand (in their own backyard), YogaCalm, Yoginos, Move With Me Action Adventures and Yoga Recess—all actively bringing the benefits of yoga to children.

Yes, it is a “business” article and as such provides some ideas for how to market yoga to school teachers and administrators including starting through volunteering. As well, it warns of the possible controversy, that of yoga as a religion, which one can expect to encounter and how to avoid it. But there is so much more to teaching yoga to children, never mind the complexities of working within the school system.

Yoga Journal: step up to the plate and offer more support to the kids and teens yoga movement. I, myself, and others in this field have continually submitted proposals to this end which have all fallen on deaf ears.  We’re more than happy to do all the research and writing in order to provide quality information in a timely manner. I’d love to see a regular column dedicated to yoga for kids and teens, or even a rising generation YJ special edition.

Well, I’ll get off my soap box and get back to trying to provide a valuable resource for parents, teachers, caregivers and yoga instructors so that they can touch the lives of children and teens through the beauty and power of yoga.


About Donna Freeman

Teacher, author and expert on yoga for kids and teens, Donna Freeman firmly believes that yoga can be done anywhere, by anyone, at anytime. She grew up in British Columbia, Canada but was introduced to yoga while living in Cape Town, South Africa during her nomad years. She is currently learning acroyoga with her kids and enjoys practicing tadasana while pumping gas or washing dishes. Bob Weisenberg describes her book Once Upon a Pose: A Guide to Yoga Adventure Stories for Children as indispensible. For more about yoga for kids and teens visit her website or the facebook page


13 Responses to “Yoga in Schools: Cash Grab Abuses Trust of Teachers & Students.”

  1. As a former kids yoga teacher who has volunteered in local schools, and a parent whose children benefit from the Yoga4Classrooms program here in Maine, I didn't see the article as being all that offensive. Rather, I read it as an enlightening business story showing the yoga teacher community an additional opportunity to reach their target audience. Unless any of the businesses listed in this article are doing so completely for free or only to cover costs, I think you have to admit, and accept, the fact that you are running a business. Many people do meaningful work they care deeply about for pay. I don't see anything wrong with this story. I DO however see how another article or column could and SHOULD be written to expand upon the reasons why yoga in schools benefits the students and teachers, and not just the yoga instructor.

  2. Kamila Schertel says:

    Thanks Donna. I believe your point is valid and insightful. Yes, yoga is a very valuable tool in the classroom and yes, some people makes big bucks (maybe) and some others less. So is life. Still how wonderful that they are so many organizations willing to bring yoga to the kiddies. And i agree with you that they are many names that have gone unnamed 🙂
    If there is anything we can do to help just put the word out… maybe is time to start a new publication all together… maybe JY does not get it… I think such magazine would be a success!! Information on yoga for children and teens…. lots of information, lots of organizations and lots of fun as well! I am all for it!

  3. Thank you for your comments and support of yoga in schools.

    Yes, many, many people are making a difference in children's lives through their tireless efforts. The fact that YJ overlooks these efforts is frustrating. As the 'go-to' guide for yoga they have a responsibility to represent yoga for all populations.

    Yes, the headline was sensationalistic – on purpose. I don't usually do that but was wanted to spark a response, or at least get people thinking. Often sensationalism is the only way to do that these days. Won't make a habit of it.

  4. spiderman0521 says:

    Thank you for your reply.

  5. Great response to YJ!
    Karma Kids Yoga also provides yoga to schools, as well as training for early educators, Elementary, Middle and High school teachers how to incorporate yoga into the classroom (a separate course from our main Teacher Training). We’ve trained many, many teachers and entire school faculty’s in this, and never once did any of the teachers look at it as a separate business opportunity to making big bucks. It was a way to bring the benefits and principles of yoga into their classroom to reduce stress and anxiety, to create an opportunity for movement in the classroom, as a segue between subjects, and overall to use to help students focus and concentrate.

    More and more schools are bringing us in to their main curriculum (versus just after-school options), or as a phys ed alternative, because the teachers are seeing a need and they have realized the overall benefits of yoga.

  6. Sydney Solis says:

    I believe the entire capitalist system is going to come crashing down hard very soon. Teach yoga to children because your heart tells you to, not for Ceasar's coins.

  7. Sydney – you always eloquently cut right to the point – thankyou.

  8. Yes, teaching kids yoga needs to come from the heart, because it is a whole other experience from adults: It's really about the instructor modeling yogic behavior keeping calm, sane and focused amid the energy and enthusiasm of their students.

    I also agree that there needs to be more information about the benefits of yoga and kids. Addriya is attempting to fill in some of that gap. Stay tuned.

    However, at the end of the day, whether you are a teacher, service provider or manufacturer, you need to run a sustainable business–mortgages need payment, food needs to be placed on the table, etc. Money is just one manifestation of your energy. Smiles on children count as well. It's all one big equation.

  9. I love your final stance "Money is just one manifestation of your energy. Smiles on children count as well." Thank you.

  10. Gretva says:

    The three yoga organizations mentioned are wonderful

  11. Gretva says:

    I think you are proving a point in this article, but not a very good

    one. When I was a part of yogakids in school I loved the class. The

    teacher was amazing. They go though much training and they deserve to be paid like that.

    What Yoga Journal said is there opinion and you just turned it in to a negative statement. That’s not what yoga is about. If you are concerned about the little things like that, you don’t deserve to be classified as a yoga expert.


    Gretva Valesh

  12. @undefined says:

    Donna, how did I miss this article before? Well done – it's nice to see that, at this point, YJ is in fact giving a few more pages to youth yoga in general, increasingly it seems with each issue. Let's hope it continues!

    On the point of making $ teaching yoga, we all need to do it. But your point is well made there as well. One needs to be properly trained and perhaps $200 per hr. is a little steep, especially for financially strapped schools.

    I must say I'm a bit surprised by Gretva's reaction to your opinion. You are also entitled to one and we have all benefited from hearing your viewpoint. That's what this conversation is all about! 🙂

  13. Lisa Flynn says:

    I'm sorry – that was Lisa Flynn posting above.