Why Teach or Learn Yoga @ School?


Why teach or learn yoga @ school?

We’ve been working (a lot) on our own yoga* practices, and in sharpening our yoga teaching skills – a definitely different type of stretching!

Since this work is now so central to our lives as teachers (and to our education work both in and outside of formal classrooms), we will be sharing our practice here, online.

* “Yoga” will be used here interchangeably and as a general catch-all for our work teaching yoga asana (physical postures), meditation, pranayama (breath work) and indeed across the 8-limbs of classical Hatha yoga practice. But we will also be using it with reference to work in mindfulness, and wellness more generally.

There are so many possible answers to the question: Why teach or learn yoga @ school. We want to continue to explore this question (and, yes, we are still exploring this question ourselves – actively. We are living it).

For now, here’s one answer: because it is FUN!

Here’s an initial share: rough notes taken from Michael’s first full lesson with a class of teenagers: learning Surya Namaskar A – the Sun Salutation that is a mainstay of so many yoga practices (see image below).

Beyond the practice itself, where was the fun? One big reason to practice yoga is that it is such a powerful activity when shared with others (and don’t get us wrong – solo practice is fun too, and often even more powerful). But we really believe that – as with other teaching – sharing your own practice or experiences can provide a gateway for others to enter.

This first class was taught untraditionally: which is to say, in a circle with all participants facing one another inside the circle, rather than in rows facing the teacher, looking at each others’ backs (and bums, a key consideration for building safe(r) yoga classrooms). Instead, we completed multiple cycles of Sun A in call-and-response style, learning Sanskrit and English names for poses. It became a sort of game of broken telephone, yoga-style. The new yogis took turns calling out the next action as we practiced together. Judgement was suspended (almost everyone was learning) and there was a fair bit of laughter as we played with the impacts of breath on practice, and the physical and other impacts of this movement series. It was a classic case of embracing “Beginner’s Mind.”

So there is one reason to practice yoga at school (or anywhere). We will be added more, sharing other viewpoints (from external online resources), and soliciting contributions. Namaste, M & K.

sun a notes

This is where my yoga teaching practice really began…