"Sit up straight. Get your head off the desk. Feet on the floor. Stop rocking your chair. Sit still." These are the words I heard day in and day out at school. We're taught that in order to learn and be focused, we must be still. Not true. We all learn and absorb material differently. Some of us are visual learners, some auditory, some kinesthetic. Me, I'm a kinesthetic learner...hands on! I needed to move and touch and experience. Tell a kinesthetic learner to sit still and that's all they learn...they learn to put a ridiculous amount of energy into staying still, that they don't hear a word the teacher is saying. Who benefits there?
So, let's try some chair yoga you can do right in school that may not be as crazy as the pose to the left, but is subtle enough to help the kinesthetic learners focus.
Ground Your Feet - Sit up straight feet with feet flat on the floor. As you inhale, push your right foot into the floor, exhale release. Inhale, push the left foot into the floor, exhale release. Keep going nice and slow. The breath calms and the pushing of the foot is so subtle you barely see movement, but brings focus.
Seated Twist - Time for a break? Take a twist! Reach the left arm across the body and hook the right arm onto the back of a chair. Inhale sit up taller, exhale twist. (Be sure not to do this during a test.) And switch sides.
Seated Cat n' Cow - Hands on the knees, inhale open the heart and arch the back. Look up for Seated Cow Pose. Exhale round and almost push into the knees for Seated Cat Pose. Keep going for a couple rounds.
Eagle Legs - Gotta move those feet, but can't go far? Wrap them up! Lift the right leg up and over the left thigh. Keep the right foot going and wrap it around the left calf. While you're all twisted squeeze the muscles, hold and then release. Feel a fresh flow of blood right into the legs and feet!
Take 5 Breath - Feeling anxious before a test or maybe you just aren't understanding what the teacher is talking about? Don't panic. Take 5. Place one hand on your thigh under your desk and tap your fingers out to the count of 5 as you inhale. Pause and then exhale out counting backwards from 5 tapping it out on your thigh.
Then of course, there are plenty of fun ways to use a chair within our yoga practice,
that we may not be able to do in school, but grab a chair at home and get to stretching!
Don't forget to throw in a round of Musical Chair Yoga!