I have been working with Opogo to launch the #TeachFit initiative since September 2017. Our reasoning behind developing this programme was that we were seeing a real lack of opportunity within many schools across the country of children being exposed to health and wellbeing.
As adults aware of the rising growth within the fitness industry, we now understand how important this is; from sleeping well, to working out to getting our head-space. It is becoming more apparent that kids are just not privy to this whatsoever and, if they are, it is only through limited access and availability within many private schools.
With all of this in mind we wanted to introduce Teach Fit into schools, either perhaps taking over PE lessons completely, by slotting out time for yoga within their regular lessons. Some schools have already taken this initiative after the Head Teacher had noticed just how important wellness has become. I’m incredibly proud to say that since the launch in September, we have managed to teach over 1000 children yoga, and it has since been thriving.
We have been teaching predominantly within primary schools but have also been lucky enough to be able to teach every year group from reception to year 6. What makes it so special is seeing how the children really start to gain an understanding of Yoga throughout the six weeks, from recognition and repetition of certain postures and techniques that we use within the class.
"What makes it so special is seeing how the children really start to gain an understanding of Yoga"
One of the core principles of Teach Fit is ensuring that the program is still fun for the children and that they feel stimulated and inspired. We begin each class by creating a relaxing ambience and reminding the children that they need to be calm and quiet. I get the children to repeat this to me each week before we begin our seated warm up, and believe me it doesn’t last long until the children are a bit wild! In all honesty I absolutely love it because all the children are so unique and I get to see all of their personalities shine in those 30 minute sessions.
More often than not no two children are doing the same thing at the same time, and so I ensure that, through yoga, they can act both as a team and individually. The main lesson plan gives them a chance to try some really nice breathing techniques, postures, warm-ups, balances, and it's the balances that you really see a difference in the kids. They learn how to concentrate, they're silent, they're either holding on to each other, or perhaps individually.
We also work as a team where we'll have a whole row holding hands with each other as they balance, and then we'll get them to do it by themselves. I also get them to switch people that they are with, which are usually their best friends, to really show how they can build as a team, and as an individual, through yoga.
To keep them interested, we take yoga back to how relatable it is to sports, for example, for the boys, we tell them that a lot of footballers actually do yoga. For example, David Beckham is famous for doing yoga. Teach Fit is not about trying to keep the kids calm and quiet the whole class, because they'll become bored and disengaged. It's about showing them that these elements of yoga can be fun, completely different to anything that they do within the schools, as well as being applicable to anything they're doing in school.
About our Community Expert
#TeachFit programme lead
Kirsty is a yoga teacher on a journey of empowerment, building confidence and pushing the boundaries of what traditional yoga is and can be.
She leads the TeachFit Yoga workshops in our partner schools.