Teaching yoga in schools is first and foremost about teaching yoga to children and youth. Being in conscious relationship with our students in this situation means being educated in youth development and able to adapt our teaching to the way children learn.
All children do not react to the world in the same way, and we must educate ourselves about the many things that can affect our students’ experiences.
We need to:
- Understand issues related to culture, religion, race, socio-economic status, and language
- Be aware of specific needs and sensitivity to trauma history
- Realize how behavior management strategies affect students’ sense of safety and self-confidence
- Understand how school culture and organizational mandates influence children
Being in conscious relationship with students when teaching yoga in schools is much like being in conscious relationship with the entire world, as almost every facet of a society is reflected in its children. This is a complicated and challenging task, and undertaking it requires substantial reflection and self-inquiry.
When we step into a school, we step into a space that is shared by people with experiences and histories that may vary widely from our own. In order to be of true service, we must be willing to open our heart and mind to different perspectives and opinions, recognize our own assumptions and tendencies, seek out advisors and trusted colleagues who can help hold us accountable, and work to reduce barriers to meaningful relationships.
Combining knowledge of developmentally appropriate yoga practices, conscious relationship practices, and self-inquiry and reflection allows us to offer meaningful school-based yoga programs that have the potential to transform the educational environment, provide young people with the tools to support their well-being, and help students thrive in a wide variety of situations