Teacher Rudra talks about the importance of Yoga for children’s education

be.Living is a school that places children and knowledge at the heart of its political educational project, seeking to fully develop every human being that comes to us. This vision motivated us to add Yoga to our school curriculum.

By working the body and mind in an integrated way, through body postures, breathing, relaxation, and concentration techniques, this practice—which holds an ancient wisdom—helps awaken the children to a new, natural, pleasurable, and deep way of relating to the totality of their beings, body and soul.

“By doing Yoga, children can discover countless possibilities of movement, breathing, and relaxation—skills that, when well developed and worked, make the utmost difference in the process of building knowledge, because they help children to know themselves, achieve self-mastery, balance, and control their own attention. In addition, this philosophy also addresses our collective consciousness, doing things together, empathy, and love,” explains Gabriela Fernandes, Elementary School coordinator at be.Living.

Teacher Rudra Avella is the one who carries out this outstanding work here, providing our children with moments of feeling safe, pleasure, joy, and self-development.  We will talk to him now to learn more about the impact of this practice on the construction of knowledge and the development of our students.

bL: In your opinion, what is the importance of introducing yoga into the school curriculum?

Rudra: A school that adds Yoga to its curriculum shows that it’s making an effort to introduce the children, from the start of their school education, to something that is a heritage of humankind. Since ancient times, Yoga has been an education of the body and mind, a science that is proven to improve children’s attention to whatever activity they’re performing, increasing their power of concentration, and teaching techniques that introduce meditation.

bL: Is yoga with children different from the way you work with adults?

Rudra: Sure. Prolonged meditation, for instance, is not suitable for children. However, we introduce meditation in such a way—playfully, with songs, mantras, and mudras—that leads the children to discover that there’s pleasure in silence, in a quiet body, behind closed eyes. We also practice the asanas—which are body postures—as a game, providing them with numerous physical, mental, and energetic benefits.

bL: What is the importance of doing Yoga at this early stage of life?

Rudra: At this stage of life, children face huge challenges in expressing themselves in the world. Usually, this manifests as either excessive energy and lack of control, or as shyness and embarrassment. In both cases, Yoga helps balance these energies, loosening the stiffer and more closed bodies, and using up any excessive energy in the case of children who are more restless and need relaxation and concentration. When children learn to control their bodies better, they gain more confidence, self-assurance, and autonomy, which not only supports them when living their lives in general, but also helps them in their school learning process.

bL: How does Yoga affect the children’s families?

Rudra: Throughout the year, we usually provide moments when families and children can do Yoga together. These are moments of pause and connection that tighten the bonds between mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. These moments are very much appreciated by children and families, so much so that at the end of Year 2, when Yoga leaves the school curriculum, we continue to offer it as an extra activity, because many children and families don’t want to stop practicing. I also see that many families get interested in learning more about Yoga, seeking to further their knowledge about the subject in order to provide information to their children through music, books, places, or family stories that are related to the universe of Yoga and Eastern philosophies. This pursuit of new knowledge broadens worldviews, opens up possibilities, and puts us in contact with many treasures that we’ve inherited from ancient scholars, who were true researchers of the human body, mind, and soul. It’s such a joy to be able to share some of this science with the families and children of be.Living!

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