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Yoga in school: Kids' fitness workouts and phys. ed in the classroom

Schools often put the cart before the horse in that they try to educate a child's mind while ignoring bodily needs. Tired, hungry, uncomfortable children don't learn well. Here are school fitness workouts for kids to improve mental functioning. Use yoga stretches and breathing exercises for classroom phys ed. Yoga makes perfect winter school fitness workouts for kids because they can do yoga in the classroom--no need to go to the gym or outdoors. Yoga stretches and breathing exercises foster learning. And lest any parent object to the use of yoga in schools, for religious reasons or otherwise, this isn't meditative yoga, it's just basic asanas or postures. Call it Brain Gym or just phys ed if that makes parents feel better.

Why use yoga in the classroom? For 6-8 hours a day, students sit in uncomfortable desks, breathing stale, recycled air. When she's not sitting, she's lugging around an achingly heavy backpack. She gets very little healthy exercise but a lot a stress and strain. Many schools have phys ed, but generally only one to three times per week. High school students get none unless it's an elective. School fitness workouts for kids are essential, even if they're just short ones.

Do short periods of yoga or other stretching and breathing exercises throughout the school day serves several purposes. Yoga strengthens lungs by teaching students to breathe deeply and use oxygen more efficiently. Yoga breathing calms the mind, body and spirit. It puts students in a tranquil, receptive frame of mind for learning. Yoga stretches and breathing exercises, even without meditation, purges the body of negative energy. Yoga is particularly useful for special needs students who can't do certain exercises or who suffer anxiety.

The benefits of stretching periodically are many. Students experience fewer cramped muscles, stomachaches, headaches and discomfort. They are more attentive when given a chance to limber up. Students are happier and more willing to cooperate when they know that teacher cares about their whole self, not just the thinking part. Yoga requires no special equipment. It's perfect for school fitness workouts for kids and in-class phys ed.

Try doing whole group yoga stretches and breathing exercises twice a day. Start first thing in the morning and immediately after lunch. Utilize "waiting in line" time and walking halls for mini phys ed breaks. School fitness workouts for kids help keep them focused. Do whole body stretches and deep breathing exercises. If kids are concentrating on yoga stretches, there will be less need for obligatory teacher shushing in the hallway. Once students get the hang of yoga stretches, fitness workouts and breathing exercises while walking, they will do it automatically whenever they are waiting somewhere. Here are video demos of yoga in the classroom. Here are more yoga for kids videos.

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education.