Integrating Yoga in Schools – Qatar Foundation STEP Annual Event October ’19

STEP (Sharing Teachers’ Effective Practice) is an annual event that showcases the importance of sharing, celebrating and collaborating with fellow Qatar Foundation academic and non-academic Practitioners. 

The event was organised by Education Development Institute (EDI) a member of Qatar Foundation, held at Qatar Academy Al Wakra on Sunday 13 October 2019. The event had two yoga sessions followed by a discussion on the benefits of yoga and how to integrate yoga into schools.

It was a sunny and beautiful day and started with a positive objective of Cultivating Awareness and Connection with our surroundings. 

Students were asked to sit comfortably and practice 'Gyana Mudra' hand gesture by touching the tips of thumb and index finger. This mudra redirects the flow of energy within the body and increases the concentration.

We worked together on the flexibility of our legs and hips.  

Encouraging active abdominal breathing to balance the airflow, enhance focus and increase blood circulation.
Transition Flow: Active breathing transitioning to vinyasa flow where strength and flexibility go hand in hand.
demonstrating wheel pose
Wheel Pose' description discussed and as practised:  

1. Start with a Warm-up: 
a. Lift the hips off the floor while arms are resting alongside the body. 
b. Palms should face downwards, fingers point towards the feet.  

2. Practice Wheel Pose:  
a. Place the palms at a comfortable distance. If you have broader or tighter shoulders, place the palms wider than shoulders. 
b. To get your hips off the floor, press your palms, elbows backwards.

Note: Some yoga teachers suggest keeping the palms underneath the shoulders and the feet underneath knees. The issue being is that it doesn't work the same for everyone because each body is unique. Someone of us have broad shoulders whilst others of us don’t and some bodies will have shorter or longer arms and legs. 

If you feel strain or excessive tension in your wrist, please try the warm-up back bend mentioned above.  

3. General Precautions:  
a. Avoid getting heels off the floor; it can put unnecessary strain on your spine. 
b. Avoid moving neck sideways.
Closing Intention: 

"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness". ~ Charles Spurgeon

Integrating yoga into schools: "Yoga with Sonia” aims to introduce the ‘Raise a Healthy Child’ initiative.    

The program is based on World Health Organisation (WHO) research recommendation which is encouraging  non-competitive physical activities in schools such as yoga.  
The objective of the program is to help children recover from excessive screen time, the effects of unhealthy diets, balance child temperaments and prevent shallow breathing. Other positive effects include the increase in concentration, confidence and stamina of the child.
    Course Outline: 

The course is designed for children of age 8-14 which involve active breathing practice and mindful exercises for awareness. 

Physical exercise to release tensions on the shoulder blades and neck, it also enhances the flexibility of respiratory muscles.  

Balance energy by practising visualisation exercises.
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