Yoga and mindfulness in the schools

Tools to increase awareness and focus, improve academic performance and engagement, and learn to self-regulate.


Outreach

Our vision is to unify communities by using yoga as a foundation of healthy lifestyle choices, academic and creative expression. By bringing yoga and the holistic arts to children, the Urban Yoga Foundation helps to expand the outlook of a future generation. Urban Yoga Foundation (UYF) classes bring children together to share in the experience of a full yoga practice while honoring their artistic selves. They participate in art, music, and play games like “Math on the Mat” and “The Meditation Game”. They go-inside, learn breathing exercises, create their own poses and participate in partner yoga sequences. The children who receive the Urban Yoga Foundation (UYF) classes develop strong mind-body connections, increased abilities to focus and relax, and overall deeper senses of awareness while learning tools to better communicate.

Why it is needed?

The fast paced, goal oriented lifestyles of today not only affect adults but children as well.  Today’s students are faced with per-dawn wake up calls, long school days, and after school activities and sports. For urban youth in underserved communities, the stress level is often heightened due to these factors as well as the transference of stress the family faces (financial insecurity, poor living conditions, dysfunctional family situations, etc.).

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system in the body, causing increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Over time, this activation can lead to a decreased immune response, low self-esteem, depression and isolation.

Research has revealed that excess stress affects students’ academic performances negatively in ways that include hyper-vigilance (lack of focus) and premature closure (arriving at solutions too quickly).

According to the CDC, our students are demonstrating unprecedented rates of stress, obesity, learning issues, school violence and depression.

Why it is beneficial?

Yoga and mindfulness teach students to manage stress

Breathing exercises utilized in yoga (pranayama) activate the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to enter a state of “rest and relax”, bringing the body back in balance. These techniques can be used in stressful situation, such as before a large exam or presentation.

The practice of yoga and mindfulness encourages communication as well as deeper connection to emotions. By giving students the tools to communicate their feelings, students are more inclined to let teachers and parents know when they are overwhelmed or stressed.

The practice of yoga postures and mindful activities provides students with a physical outlet for pent up energy, stress, frustration, and other emotions.

Yoga and mindfulness are appropriate for any age

4 – 6 Years Old: Provides a mechanism for gross motor development and self-reflection  

7 – 9 Years Old: Allows for the refinement of gross motor skills while having children work on their endurance and strength. More advanced games can be used in this group that incorporate the basics of storytelling or mathematical concepts.

10 – 12 Years Old: Helps adolescents develop and deepen their mind-body connections and to pause and respond constructively to any given circumstance. Through this connection, students acknowledge and feel more comfortable with the changes going on within their bodies.

Teenagers: “Practice allows for self-study and self-care as well as development of vital intra-personal and interpersonal skills, such as improved communication skills, which are critically needed at this developmental stage” Tumers 2009.

Campus yoga and mindfulness-based skill development includes applying the practice to school-based daily activities such as peer interactions, paying attention in class, reading, writing, study habits, and other classroom behaviors.


School-based yoga and mindfulness programs

All programs can be customized according to the students’ interests, needs, age, and cultural background. A basic program can include, but is not limited to:

  • Daily, theme-based yoga postures combined with meditation, relaxation, breathing exercises.
  • Theme-based mindful art, journaling, dance, music, self-expression, focusing exercises.
  • Teaching the power of applying a self-responsible, mindful attitude in school, home, and daily life.
  • Using positive tools that empower children to make better decisions and develop healthier, more balanced lifestyles.
  • Decreasing participant stress levels and improving well-being with mindful movement

School-based yoga and mindfulness-based skill development includes applying the practice to school-based daily activities such as peer interactions, paying attention in class, reading, writing, study habits, and other classroom behaviors.

Contact development@urbanyogafoundation.org to discuss your customized program and pricing options.


Special programs

Geared towards community involvement

Urban Yoga Mama classes combine yoga and play to help get mom in shape while strengthening the bond between mother and child. We flow with movement and dynamic postures while creating a calm playful environment for babies and new walkers. Learn to help your baby grow strong and attentive, promote sleep and aid in digestion.

Me and Baby Yogi classes bring you and your child together to learn animated poses, art, music, fun and breathing exercises. Help children build body awareness, coordination and motor skills. Bond with your child and learn the yoga song to sing at home. Dads and caregivers welcome.

Urban Yoga Kids classes bring fun and inspiration to the young mind of a child. We will dance, breathe, go-inside and sing exercising social and motor skills while we learn about simple yoga postures. Kids learn respect for themselves and each other creating lasting friendships. Yoga Brings Fun and Inspiration to the Young Mind of a Child.

Urban Yoga Youth Movement classes bring middle school children together to share in the experience of a full yoga practice while honoring their artistic selves. They participate in art, music and play games like “Math on the Mat” and “The Meditation Game”. They go-inside, learn breathing exercises, create their own poses and participate in partner yoga sequences.

Urban Yoga Teens helps teens learn how to build self-awareness and self-esteem. It helps them with issues they face each day, such as feeling self-confident, being comfortable with their changing bodies, handling academic pressure and peer-bonding.

Urban Yoga Adult classes bring the basic yoga practice to busy adults. The classes consist of breathing exercises to reduce stress, yoga postures to strengthen the body and meditation to calm the mind.

Urban Yoga Family monthly potluck workshops will help create family bonds that lasts a lifetime. Eat good food, meditate, do poses and learn breathing exercises that you can enjoy at home.

Yoga Builds Self-Awareness and Self-Esteem.


Other programs

By request only

Urban Holistic Girl series consist of workshops on natural health and beauty and ideas helping young girls discover their own inner beauty and strength. Through journaling; making tea and creating home-beauty treatments, this program instills empowering and invaluable tools to honor our ancestors and to actually produce products and support girls in their quest for natural beauty.

Urban Warrior series helps boys feel strong and connected. We do poses that strengthen their active minds and bodies. They will understand the importance of taking care of themselves and the community they serve.

The Yoga Gallery fuses yoga, art, music and the spoken word into a production. It gives young minds the understanding of putting together a full music/movement production as they learn how to honor themselves holistically.