We continue to run our course, Teaching Yoga & Mindfulness to Children, every year. Headteacher Rachel Longmate documents her experiences of the training and the benefits that these studies have enabled her to bring to children and schools.
Enrolling on a course can be a big decision and I spent a lot of time looking around at various options before committing to a course to deliver Yoga and Mindfulness to children. A yoga teacher friend of mine recommended I look into courses with Jyoti Jo Manuel / Special Yoga. I did and was really taken by what I read, I could really relate to their vision and aims particularly that ‘all children are special and deserve to experience peace, joy and fulfilment of their potential and purpose’. Who can argue with that?
This was clearly a course where children are put first and are at the heart of what they do. As a Primary School teacher and Headteacher this has always been so important to me: look at the child not the statistic. Other courses I had looked at seemed very ‘scripted’ this course felt different so, regardless of the extra travel cost (the course I booked on was in London although Special Yoga deliver in many places both nationally and internationally). I booked on. I was not disappointed.
The course was designed to really consider individual needs, for example, we all have different teaching styles just like we all have different learning styles. On this course we worked with a range of fabulous teachers who all shared their knowledge and skills. The teachers had clearly been carefully brought together and complemented each other so well, sharing a great depth of knowledge, personal experience and expertise from philosophy to practical class ideas.
We developed a bank of ideas and knowledge, giving us the confidence to go out and deliver. As a Headteacher my priority was for the wellbeing of my staff and children. Unfortunately pressures in schools and the world around us mean that this isn’t always the case; this course reinforced the importance of that.
To go back to the aim that ‘all are special and deserve to fulfil their potential’ the course recognises that each child, in fact each person, is unique and comes with their own background and/or issue(s) which might be different from class to class. The course gives you the confidence to go with this, don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan (in fact don’t have a plan – scary thought for a school teacher!), go with the children and their needs.
There is a reason Yoga has been around for thousands of years and that many people now turn to it in the ever pressured ‘modern’ world and this course gave me the confidence to share that beyond my own school.
I have since delivered sessions in a number of schools with children from age 4-11 (and staff of those schools). The children will tell me how calm and relaxed they feel after a session, however, what is so much more powerful is seeing them using the tools or hearing from their teachers how they ‘used finger breathing to calm down’ or how much more focused the children seem after the session. These are tools for life and I feel blessed that I had such a fabulous group of teachers to give me the tools to go out and share them; thank you Special Yoga.