FAMILY & KIDS
every day, and a before school program
called BOKS (Building Our Kids Success) is a program based on scientific
studies that show exercise and movement improves academics. So it is no
surprise to find yoga classes as a weekly
part of the 8th grade girls P.E.
Yoga teachers like Wilson are provided
to the school by Mighty Lotus, a 501(c)
(3) nonprofit organization that has developed a curriculum for their teachers to follow in a public school setting.
It is now her second year teaching for
Mighty Lotus, and Wilson admits this
job is quite a challenge. “You need the
right space,” she says. “Sometimes having [I have] to move desks and change
spaces upon arrival.” Not only that, but
she must also contend with “varying
physical abilities as well as a desire to
participate, or lack thereof.” This is middle school we’re talking about.
Mighty Lotus curriculum is based on a
variety or researched programs and includes general, yoga-based practices and
also mindfulness training. “We are able
to tailor a program to meet the needs of
each specific school,” Wilson says, “from
a more physical practice [such as] poses and movement to a quieter practice
[like] stress reduction and mindfulness.”
One Mighty Lotus program that has
grown faster than others is the “Mighty
Minds” program, which focuses on
breath, focus and stress management.
“I think this is a result of the increased
levels of stress that kids today face beginning at a very young age.”
Most teachers come to Mighty Lotus
with yoga certifications and experience
teaching yoga to children. Mighty Lotus
also provides their teachers specialized
training, such as a weekend workshop
by Street Yoga, a Seattle based company
that teaches “trauma informed” yoga.
“Most of Mighty Lotus’s staff was able
to learn about dealing with tough situations in a variety of settings, including
many of the settings [in which] we teach
in Indianapolis,” Willson said.
Principal Ostler related how the Mighty
Lotus program has evolved at her school
over the last three years. The first year,
students had to volunteer to do yoga,
and not everyone participated. But the
second year, they tried to apply directly
applying the benefits of the mindfulness and stress reduction techniques to
specific children. Children were chosen that were thought to “need a destressor.” Ostler said, “This didn’t work
well because students felt like they were
singled out.” Children were viewing the
program as a punishment, which was
counter-productive to a yoga class. So
in this third year, the yoga classes at SUPER School 19 have been incorporated
as part of P.E. each week.
INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I