The first weeks of school are exciting, and they can also be overwhelming and stressful. Students, families, and teachers will need to adjust to their school year schedules, meet new teachers and classmates, and re-learn classroom (and home) routines and procedures.
Taking a moment to breathe and move mindfully is a great way for students, families, and teachers to process these various changes – and emotions that come with them. Yoga, which often includes a sequence of poses, can help with overall physical and emotional well-being. Using the breath cycle as an anchor, practitioners are able to build internal awareness and learn how to relax both their body and mind.
To ease us into the school year, our Good Reason Houston Manager of District and School Support, Michelle Nguyen, shares some yoga poses that can help students, families, and teachers calm their back-to-school jitters and prepare for an amazing school year. These poses can be done in a chair or on the floor – at home, school, or work.
Good Reason Houston Back-to-School Yoga Sequence (10 min.)
1. Easy Seat
An easy seat is any sitting position that is comfortable for your body. I recommend sitting in a chair with both feet on the floor or in a crossed-leg seat on the floor. From this seat, notice where you are touching the ground to create stability. Inhale to lift the crown of your head. Exhale to relax your shoulders. Allow yourself to focus on taking 3-5 breaths.
This book made for early learners will help any baby or toddler get the wiggles out while working on gross motor skills. This book enables kids to read, learn yoga, and develop their movement of the large muscles of the arms, legs, and torso.
2. Archer Arms
From your sitting position, reach your right arm up and place your right palm on the back of your shoulders. Place your left hand onto your right elbow. Inhale to expand both sides of your body. Exhale to rest the back of your shoulders into your right palm. Breathe in and out 3-5 times, then switch arms and repeat on the other side.
3. Cat and Cow
Cat and cow support spine mobility, focus, and coordination. Here are two options
- If you are seated in a chair: Inhale to expand your chest forward while bringing your shoulders back. Exhale to draw your belly in towards your spine while rounding your shoulders forward. Repeat 3-5 times, synchronizing your movement with your breath.
- If you are on the floor: Bring yourself into a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips; Keep your hands and knees in this position during this pose. Inhale to drop your belly and lift the center of your chest forward and up; Gaze forward. Exhale to lift your belly up and round your spine; Gaze towards your navel. Repeat 3-5 times, synchronizing your movement with your breath.
4. Child’s Pose
At Good Reason Houston, our vision is for every child, in every neighborhood, to excel in a world-class public school and thrive in the Houston of tomorrow. In this final pose of our sequence, you can set an intention for all students, families, and teachers to have a safe, healthy school year filled with learning opportunities. Here are two options:
Michelle Nguyen is a former educator who has been teaching yoga to children and adults since 2014. You can find her most up-to-date class schedule on Instagram by following @sunshineandsoulyoga.