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Using Yoga to teach Social-emotional Learning
Yoga is part of the Ani-Bullying program: Teaching Social Skills
Educators have been trying to figure out how to include something in the classroom that addresses social-emotional learning and student wellness. Many school districts across the country have found the answer in the practice of yoga.
The wellness aspect of yoga can be seen in its slow movements and extended balanced poses. Some people might think there’s nothing to it because there are no heavy dumbbells involved, but they think differently once they’ve been holding a one-legged tree pose for as little as a minute. However, this image alone does not display how yoga can be used for social-emotional learning.
The non-visual part of yoga is meditation. Practitioners use this as a way to help themselves let go of things or figure out how to make changes in their lives. When it comes to children, they cannot achieve this goal without proper guidance from their teachers.
There are two different but equally important aspects that will create a successful yoga program. One of these is consistency. We cannot do anything (write, walk, speak, play an instrument) without doing it repeatedly until it becomes second-nature. However, all that effort would be wasted if we did not have the second feature, which is a well-developed process that teaches social-emotional learning. With the previous examples of learning how to walk or speak, imagine what it would have been like without the assistance of your caretakers. Could you have learned those things eventually? Of course, but you would have struggled a lot more than if you had a reliable guide.
The first step can be a small one. Think about a way to schedule 8-10 minutes of yoga and relaxation into your daily routine. Explain what you are doing and why. Giving students this background information will help build trust and a positive environment.