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Vista Incorporates Yoga In the Classroom

Some might think that deep, calming breaths and stretching is only for adults in a yoga studio. But Vista Charter Academy is proving that these simple techniques can help even the youngest of students.

Ms. Candis Ogilvie, a second-year English language arts teacher, posed the idea of incorporating yoga into Vista classrooms last year.
“The concept of yoga in the classroom is a curriculum-based program called Yoga in the Classrooms,” said Ogilvie. “The curriculum allows classroom teachers to utilize the program with students sitting in a chair and also allows for small groups to practice additional poses on a traditional yoga mat.”
The program allows classroom teachers to use whatever techniques they feel would be most appropriate in their classrooms. Whether after a test, in between lessons, or simply when they feel stressed or tired, students are already benefiting from the practice.
“The students have really enjoyed practicing their breathing and stretches through yoga,” Ogilvie said. “It is a simple practice that teachers can do with the entire class from their desk chairs. They work on calming breaths, simple stretches, and being mindful during their learning.”
Ogilvie also works with small groups of students throughout the day. The group of five to six students steps out of the classroom and into a room where they have a little more room to utilize a yoga mat and practice some additional poses.
When the students arrive in her classroom, Ogilvie reminds them of the goal of yoga and how to prepare their minds for the session. She then begins a simple series, with students leading every other set of exercises.
“The yoga program started by Mrs. Ogilvie has been a wonderful addition to Vista,” said Principal Heather Guerra. “Providing students with tools to help create a self-awareness encourages them to become more self-managing and also model that problem solving approach
outside of the classroom.”
But the program is much more than just breathing and stretching. Ogilvie makes sure to incorporate the school’s Moral Focus virtue of the month into each meeting. Students set goals of how they want to incorporate that month’s virtue into their life. September’s virtue of wisdom was the topic of discussion and students were proud to state how they reached their goal.
“It’s wonderful to see them enjoy this program. Many students have even told me they now are doing yoga at home.”