Does your body hurt at the end of the school day? When you finally slow down for a minute do you realize your shoulders are tense, your lower back is sore, and you're wiped out? Can you remember the last time you had the energy for a weeknight social engagement, or the mental space to let go of your work?
As much as I wish it did, Netflix and the couch won't cure what ails you. That's why I created Balanced Teachers' first free, no-nonsense, 12-minute audio yoga class [Already convinced that you love yoga? Download it now.]
Here are 12 powerful, school-specific reasons to get some yoga into your life and your classroom:
1. You'll have amazing posture.
Your patented teacher look will fall flat if it comes along with body language that says "I'm hunched over, exhausted, and unsure of myself." Remember when everyone was talking about power poses? How you carry yourself impacts both how you come across and how you feel. Yoga does major work on your core, back, shoulders, hips, and basically every body part that impacts your posture. When you're walking around like Wonder Woman, you and your students will all sit up a little straighter.
2. You'll slay all day.
When my mom came to visit my classroom, she couldn't believe I was still standing up at the end of the day. Most teachers' stamina is already superhuman, but yoga takes it to the next level. When your body is healthier and happier, making it to 3:00 pm (at least physically) will feel like a walk in the park instead of an epic physical challenge.
3. You'll protect yourself from injury.
We've all done it. Ignoring the ominous school safety video warnings, you stood on the chair to reach the projector, you moved something heavy, or you whipped around too fast when a student was no longer on a Voice Level 0. Minor teacher injuries are pretty common, but improving your strength and flexibility will make your body more resilient during normal and abnormal teacher tasks.
4. You'll run into fewer desks.
When you're more coordinated and aware of your own body, you run into less shit. You just do.
5. You'll have better focus.
Yoga is the practice of staying in the present moment. When your mind wanders off, you learn to come back (and stay) with your movement, your breath, and what's happening in your body today. That's perfect brain training for focusing your attention on just one important thing at a time. That kind of focus is a skill set that will help you with virtually every part of teaching.
6. You'll enjoy more "aha" moments.
You know how you always come up with the best teaching ideas in the shower? Practicing yoga can be that way, too. When you're finally not thinking about the upcoming project, that's when the perfect rubric item will pop right into your brain.
7. You'll have more energy for your social life.
On the weeks where I do yoga regularly, a Wednesday night dinner date seems less impossible. Maybe it's my lower blood pressure or the fact that I'm sleeping better (bonus physical benefits!) but I at least stand a chance of staying out until 8:00 pm.
8. You'll find a healthy network.
Yoga classes, groups, and training have all consistently introduced me to funny, driven, supportive, health-conscious folks who value their own personal growth. Friends who will come to yoga with me are definite keepers. More time with friends is a stress reliever all on its own, but you get extra credit if movement is involved.
9. You can exercise alone while being with other people.
Introverted teachers unite.
10. You'll be the calm in the storm.
Teachers on my teams have always told me that I'm "so calm." ... But I don't always feel calm on the inside. I feel the same stressors as everyone around me, and I still think the same "AHHHHH!!!" kind of thoughts. I think what they're noticing is that doing yoga gives me some space to reflect and respond to situations calmly, at least on the outside.
11. You'll have perspective.
Sometimes seeing the world from a different angle helps you see your problems, challenges, and pressure from a different angle, too. It might also help you let some of them go.
12. You'll roll with the waves.
Yoga helps you remember that everything is temporary. If you hate this pose, another one is coming up. If you love this pose, another one is coming up. You'll experience lots of waves as a teacher, and yoga will help you roll with them.
If you want to experience any of these 12 awesome benefits for yourself, I made something just for you.
It's a 12-minute audio yoga class. I recorded it live from my classroom, so I know firsthand that you can do it during your lunch break or planning time. There's no chanting, inspirational quotes, or flowery language. Just stretching, breathing, and a few corny math jokes. You won't be sweaty when the kids come back, but you WILL be much nicer.
Let me know what you think of the class in the comments below, and share how yoga has been working for you.
All the best,