By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
The academic, athletic and social schedule of many students is jam-packed. Often a student will run from one obligation to another for the better course of the day. This busy schedule frequently includes weekend athletic competitions, volunteer commitments and social engagements. By offering Yoga classes to school students, you will be offering them a solid hour of slowing down to really feel their bodies and become aware of their thoughts. Although a Yoga class can be seen as another athletic engagement, the contemplative nature of the practice does facilitate a student’s clarity of mind and somatic awareness.
There are many ways to alleviate test anxiety by teaching the practice of Yoga to school students. Yoga is particularly effective for clearing the mind and dissolving physical stress and tension. As a student’s mind settles and physical tension is released, he or she will be better able to optimize study time. Additionally, a vigorous class will help to motivate a student for “crunch time” before a test or exam period by energizing the entire body. The Yogic breathing or pranayama exercises will also calm down an overly stimulated nervous system, which will help a student to fully focus on the test material with one-pointed concentration.
Many of the physical postures of Yoga promote strength, balance and determination. With these “warrior-like qualities” comes a sense of grounding and a stronger ability to concentrate and focus on one task at a time. The skills will serve a student well, both in Yoga class and in the library! In order to cultivate these qualities in your students, offering them a strong, vigorous series of Sun Salutations, including the Warrior Series, Trikonasana and Side Angle Pose, will help to generate internal heat and energy. In order to cultivate a stronger sense of focus and concentration, you may wish to include Eagle Pose, Tree Pose and Half Moon Pose into your class for their grounding and balancing effects.
As a Yoga instructor, do remember to include the practice of pranayama into your classes. These breathing exercises are fundamental to soothing and balancing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. This balance promotes both the calming and energizing effects of a great Yoga class. A sense of balance and calmness will give your students the energy and focus they need to be both efficient and effective while preparing for a test. Providing a five-minute time period at the end of class for your students to outline a study schedule for the coming week will also help them to structure their time wisely.
© Copyright 2013 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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