Find a large open space where each student can roll out a yoga mat. If possible, it’s best to use the gymnasium so that students have as much space as possible to spread out and stretch. However, you can also push desks aside, making space in your classroom or the library. Before starting the class, set up the video and ensure that the audio is working well. Ask students to position their yoga mats across two or three rows and to lay them vertically, facing the screen. Once students are ready, remind them that yoga is an individual practice: Students should focus on what feels right for them and tune into what their body is saying. Emphasize that everyone has different levels of experience and flexibility, and encourage students to keep their eyes on their own mat. When the class is ready, start the yoga lesson.
After the lesson, ask students to answer the following questions:
- How did you feel before the yoga practice? What thoughts were you having?
- How did you feel during the exercise? What thoughts were you having?
- How do you feel after the exercise? What are you thinking about now?
- Do you notice a difference in your physical body (ex. posture, tension, breath) or mood from before and after the exercise?
- Can you picture yourself doing yoga in the future? Why or why not?
Depending on students’ responses and your level of commitment, think about implementing a morning yoga practice into your classroom. Yoga with Adriene has a 10-minute standing yoga practice for the classroom that is a great way to wake up, get grounded, and start the day off on the right foot. Try doing this yoga practice with your students every morning for a week, or simply make it part of the Monday morning routine.
What if I am not flexible?
No problem! People tend to think of someone folded into a pretzel position when they hear the word yoga, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Yoga does involve flexibility but, just like any other ability, practicing yoga is what helps you become more flexible over time. To start, you might want to try some of the modified yoga poses and work your way up to the full postures. Don’t push yourself too far and focus on being your best self (rather than comparing yourself to others).
How do I know if I am doing it right?
An important thing to remember is that our bodies and bone structures are all very different so there is no single “right” way to do a pose. Yoga is about finding what feels good for you and finding what works for your own body. This is called body awareness and heavily relies on the sensory information that you receive from the movement and force of different muscle groups or joints. Developing body awareness takes time. For now, try to follow along with what the instructor is showing. If you are having trouble with a pose, then take a break, or try a modified version of the pose. The most important thing to note is that yoga should not hurt. It’s normal to feel stretching sensations or to feel your muscles working but, if you are in pain, listen to your body and slowly come out of the pose.
Is yoga a religion?
No, yoga is not a religion. The yoga practice began in India around 5,000 years ago. Indeed, yoga sometimes overlaps paths with religious philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but you do not need to practice these religions to practice yoga. People all over the world practice yoga to ground themselves in their lives, take care of their physical and mental health, and find calm, without any association to religion.
Can I do this at home?
Yes, you can do yoga almost anywhere! There are lots of great YouTube videos that you can follow for free yoga instructions. Find an empty room or a quiet space where you have enough room to stretch and move around. It’s great if you have a mat but, if you don’t, use a towel or try finding a carpeted area to make it a little bit more comfortable for yourself. You can also ask your friends or family to join you – this can be a great way to strengthen relationships, enhance engagement, and deepen connections alongside practicing yoga.