A few weeks ago, I needed a break. I was weighed down by seemingly everything—mustering up the strength to write quality lessons, getting myself to the grocery, doing the dishes, being a ‘good dog mom,’ then engaging my kids with quality lessons—at the end of the school year, to boot. To power through the end, I really needed something to kick start my attitude and give me some time to be reflective about teaching and why I do it. I’d been scouring for yoga professional development since our school has a pretty strong brain break initiative and I have been teaching a yoga class this session to my kids.
I found YOGA ed through Yoga Journal when I was perusing one day, and saw that their founder, Tara Gruber, was nominated for an award through the magazine. Digging a bit deeper, I found that YOGA ed was started to bring about change in an Los Angeles charter school and foster health and development for its students.
There was a short 8 hour training this Saturday, so I asked if a coworker who also teaches yoga at our school wanted to go with me, we booked tickets along with another coworker who wanted to come along for the sun and sand, and headed out to LA. I am grateful that I had the means to take time off and have a husband that picked me up from the airport at 1 a.m.!
The training itself, held at UCLA, was accessible and easily able to be applied to the classroom immediately. Mostly the resources are poses and cues to use for all areas of the school day, along with breathing, relaxation, and balance yoga. All of the poses are kid-friendly, and even though most of it is geared toward children–middle school age, I can apply them to high schoolers as well. Our trainer, Halli Bayer, was knowledgeable, passionate, and gave wonderful feedback. Watching her model the instructions and how to cue was in itself worth the trip! If you are slightly interested in using yoga in the classroom (you by NO MEANS have to have ever taught or have done yoga before), you should consider bringing YOGA ed to your building or heading out for a training!
Our students are faced with many stressors that are mostly imposed by adults–testing, school, residual trauma, and other responsibilities. I was glad to learn some accessible ways to give kids tools to handle the stressors, as well as learn how to handle them myself! After the training, we spent quality time on the beach and soaking in the fact that life is beautiful. I can’t wait to bring back what I’ve learned into the classroom and carry the rest of this year with strength and intention! Below are some snapshots of quick moments.
Teachers, what do you do to re-energize to make it through the end of the year? It could be as simple as making time for yourself to grab coffee and sit and drink it in elusive silence, or taking a trip. Comment below!