Yoga in the classroom – by Rayna

“EC student Helal Al Najrani does a yoga Wheel. This pose definitely

wakes you up and increases energy levels!”

It’s Monday morning.  We’ve had a great weekend with our friends in Vancouver, and now we’re feeling tired and just want to relax for the first hour of class, maybe put our heads down and just catch a few more zzzzzzzzs (“Please, teacher! Can we just sleep for a bit…?”). How can we increase our energy level and prepare for another day of learning?  

 How about a little yoga? 

 Yoga is well-known for the benefits it provides your physical body, but did you also know it helps improve your focus, concentration, and ability to remember new information?  Say hello to a great new learning tool!  Here are just a few reasons why yoga in the classroom is a great idea:

 Improves our ability to focus

We all feel a little foggy in the mornings, especially Mondays (and sometimes Fridays)!  Think of yoga as a healthy alternative to a giant cup of coffee from Starbucks.  It’s a natural way of energizing your body through movement that is connected with your mind.  By focusing on our bodies and our breathing, yoga practice helps clear our mind of ‘noisy thoughts’ – like what you did on the weekend – and become more present to what’s happening at this very moment.

Increases self-confidence

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who arrive to class awake and excited to learn, but you’re a little shy when it comes to participating?  Fear no more!  Yoga practice is a wonderful link between your mind and your body: when you try a new pose you may feel a little nervous, but as you become more confident in your body’s ability to hold a yoga pose, and try new and challenging poses, there’s a great feeling of accomplishment both physically and mentally.  This confidence will stay with you long after your yoga class ends.  Even after your first yoga practice, you’ll feel like you can do anything!

Lowers stress levels

It’s test day!  Your heart is racing and suddenly everything you have learned has disappeared from your memory!  It’s okay: breathe in… 1… 2… 3… 4… breathe out… 1… 2… 3… 4… breathe in…. The breathwork that is part of every yoga practice helps to calm your nerves, minimize stress and anxiety, and make it easier for you to move from a feeling of being overwhelmed and overloaded to a more positive, relaxed, and healthy place in your mind and body.  Yoga helps you train your mind and body to act, not react, in stressful situations.

Improves energy levels

When we’re stressed, we hold tension in our bodies.  This is really hard on our energy levels!  By learning how to relax through yoga, we can use our energy to enjoy our daily activities instead of worrying. Yoga practice includes breathing deeply which helps our bodies to relax.  Try it right now: breathe in and really fill up your belly, and when you breathe out let all of the air go.  Ahhhhhhhhh…

An easier transition to a new place

Everyone has experienced homesickness at one point or another.  You miss your family, your friends, and all the delicious food from your country.  Yoga practice can help you with these feelings by encouraging you to relax and enjoy where you are right now.  While you’ll probably always miss your country a little bit, yoga can help you remember that these feelings will not last forever.  Soon you’ll be focusing on how great of a time you’re having with your new friends and ‘family’ here in Vancouver!

 It’s fun!

Yoga can be a great way to create and celebrate teamwork and individual efforts within a classroom.  By practicing yoga together with your classmates, you’ll be supporting one another in learning, enjoying some physical exercise, and having fun all at the same time!  

 Curious about yoga?  Why not try EC’s 30 Minute Lunch Hour Yoga, held once a week.  Check in the office for more details!

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