Yoga Poses For Students
Back to school is just around the corner! I cannot believe Timothy is starting kindergarten this year. I am so sad to see him growing up; and I worry about him spending a longer day at school now. I want to arm him with practical tools he can use to combat stress, anxiety, boredom, fear, insecurity, body aches, angst, and anything else he may feel once he is in the classroom.
From 5 years to 15 years to 25 years (depending on how long you go through school), it is hard to be a student. More and more pressure is put on our children to perform their best at all times. It’s harder with social media and technology to stay present. Kids have more and more work loads and extracurricular activities than ever before. Yoga is such an amazing tool for students to use to combat stress, develop focus, monitor their breathing, strengthen and stretch their bodies and be able to sit for periods of time for reading and school work.
I think Chair yoga is the perfect antidote to helping kids stay focused, calm and happy at school. Chair yoga offers a variety of stretches for students as well as meditations that can relieve anxiety, help boost mood and improve memory and concentration. The best thing about chair yoga, is it can be done at school or home in a chair. There is no special equipment needed; and its much more accessible to all shapes, sizes and skill levels. Yoga can be intimidating; but chair yoga is easy!
I recently had a young High school girl from London reach out to me about the benefits of doing chair yoga in their school. She said she really thinks it can help with everything from relieving eye strain to lower back relief to relaxing tense shoulders and minds.
Here are some of my favorite chair yoga postures for students to perform:
Cat/Cow: Sit tall with your feet planted firmly. Place your hands on your knees and inhale open the chest as you arch out of your lower back. Exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat 5-8 times to relieve the shoulders and back and to refresh your energy.
High Altar Stretch: Sit tall at the edge of your seat with you feet planted firmly on the floor. Inhale your arms up along side your ears. Interlace the hands and invert the palms to the ceiling. Hold for 5-8 breaths as you expand your lungs lengthen your arms and soften the tops of the shoulders. This is great to imagine something on the altar you want to bring in to your life. The pose also releases the back and shoulders and creates more space for deeper breaths which help combat fatigue.
Hands Clasped Behind the Back: Sit tall at the edge of your seat and lace your hands together behind your back. Lift your chest and hold for 5-8 breaths. Students get really rounded over their computers and end up overusing their hands and wrists from typing and texting. This pose helps relieve the hands and shoulders. It also helps boost energy and create better posture.
Hamstring Stretch: Who doesn’t love to put their feet up on their desk?! Here is a good excuse to tell your teachers it’s necessary to stretch tight hamstrings and relieve the lower back. It’s also a nice way to let the head release forward and let go of tension and stress.
Try these chair moves when you go back to school or if you’re a stay at home parent or a mom or dad who also has a desk job. Chair yoga is so beneficial for everyone!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!