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Workshop: Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom

Practical applications from a PESI seminar

Back in mid-December, I attended a one day workshop called Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom: Tools to improve self-regulation, learning and classroom climate. Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT, presented a program that she designed to help bring yoga and mindfulness into the classroom. Not only did she present the concrete parts of the program, Ms. Flynn also did a good job explaining how students could benefit both academically and behaviorally.

My motivation for attending was to learn a little bit about mindfulness and incorporate some quick and simple techniques into my therapy sessions. I was actually planning for that to be my smart goal for the year. The initial sequence presented focused on activities that could easily fall under the SLPs scope of practice. One listening activity focused on auditory attention, some breathing and head/neck movements could fall under oral motor, movements that pair up with others could fall under social and another activity focusing on relaxation/imagination is basically visual imagery. I’m sure I could find many more examples.

Ms. Flynn has modified many of the basic yoga positions to be “school friendly.” This means nothing too challenging, minimal space requirements and no touching the floor. Even more impressive is that she has put together a variety of sequences to choose from depending on needs. Ms. Flynn was also very mindful of the time constraints schools face, creating sequences that vary from 1-2 minutes to 20 minutes. Her suggested sequences include:

  • Morning meeting
  • Take a Break
  • Transitions
  • Pre-Writing and Writing Break
  • Pre-Test and Test Break
  • Calm/Focus
  • Mood/Energy Shift
  • Close of Day
Several of these 1-2 minute sequences would be perfect for speech/language therapy sessions.

Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom was hosted by PESI. It really was a good bang for the buck. Not only was Ms. Flynn very knowledgeable, but she also shared an awful lot of information and the take homes were very complete. If you wanted to implement her techniques on a larger scale there were materials available to purchase. Ms. Flynn has created sets of cards to guide, explain and demonstrate the aspects of her program, and I must say they were quite good.

If it were up to me, I would spend some consult dollars on this program to have Ms. Flynn train the teachers and develop a program that would fit my schools needs. I see this approach as proactive and being able to help in so many ways. I could also envision physical education teachers taking the lead on this to help incorporate this into daily practice. This is a program all kids could benefit from. This could be considered a universal support in schools and foster skill development in so many areas.

This was honestly one of the most enjoyable workshops I’ve been to in a long time. I do have to wonder if it was enjoyable because we got to get up and move around. If movement and breathing made the workshop more enjoyable, that just proves it works. I’m looking forward to incorporating many of these techniques into my therapy sessions.

You can read more about Lisa Flynn’s Yoga 4 Classrooms program on her website.

This blog was written by Teresa Sadowski, MA, CCC-SLP, and originally appeared on her website www.theschoolspeechtherapist.comThis blog was republished withpermission. The author did not receive compensation of any kind for sharing herexperience with PESI, Inc.


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