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Dogs, Cats, and Kids: Integrating Yoga into Elementary Physical Education
Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2008
Pages: 15 - 18
Source ID: shanti-sources-60776
Abstract: This article describes the benefits of integrating yoga into elementary physical education classes. Taught as warm-up exercises or as an entire class, yoga offers children of any age and physical ability the opportunity to experience success in physical activity. Children need to experience joy while participating in physical activity in order to build a foundation for lifelong wellness. Yoga is a sophisticated system for achieving physical health and mental clarity. Most commonly, yoga is regarded as a physical discipline that teaches strength, flexibility, and balance as integrated rather than isolated components of fitness. A physical yoga practice consists of exercises called postures or asanas that strengthen, stretch, and align the body. The philosophy of an asana practice lies in its mindful execution, not in how far one can go in each pose. Each posture requires combining the mind, body, and breathing practices. The mental and emotional components are a natural result when the body is exercised in an integrated manner. Taking a moment to breathe, relax, or stretch will leave students calm, alert, and ready to learn. Low impact and non-competitive yoga can become an ideal lifelong exercise and should be an activity that is part of every physical education curriculum. Adding yoga to a school's curriculum will help to provide a quality physical education program consistent with the National Standards for Physical Education (NASPE).