Don’t Get Mad, Do Yoga
Kids get mad. They throw tantrums. They name call. And while this behavior is not desirable and is something that should definitely be discouraged, it’s still just a part of being young and learning to manage your emotions. But, even though it’s normal, it can be frustrating for teachers to deal with especially when they are trying to manage other kids as well. And, there are some kids that get angry more often than others. But, if a school has already introduced a Yoga routine to their students, some of these same techniques can be used to help kids manage their anger at school.
Make it a Routine
The techniques learned during yoga can help kids stay more focused and calm all day long, if they are well-versed. If you want students to feel comfortable enough to use the techniques on their own, they need to to practice. A daily, or even weekly routine, will introduce kids to the yoga practices that will transfer into their everyday lives.
Breathing is at the center of every yoga practice. Teaching kids, through a regular yoga practice, to turn to breathing to calm themselves down can teach them to be in control of their anger even if they can’t get to a mat or engage in a practice right away. They don’t have to interrupt what they are doing or even leave the room to put breathing techniques into practice. Turning to their breath can be a great way to fight off anger or frustration before it becomes an issue.
Try the Corpse Pose
Despite its morbid name, this pose could come in handy if anger has escalated into a tantrum and children need to be removed from a situation. Encourage kids to try this pose if they are feeling extremely agitated or angry for any reason. Give them permission to take a break, pick a quiet corner of the room, or even go out in the hall, and lay flat on their backs, arms and legs splayed (Of course, make sure other teachers and staff know this may a common occurrence so they aren’t alarmed when they see it. It is called Corpse pose after all.) While they are on their backs, they should breathe in and out deeply, focusing on their breath until they feel their anger slipping away.
Relax Their Body
If they have been taught in a class how to focus on relaxing each part of their body slowly, this can be a great practice to turn to when they are feeling frustrated. Relaxing each part of their body, bit by bit, gives them something else to focus on besides their anger, and they can do it right at their desks.
Imagine a Calm Place
The simple act of breathing may not be enough for kids who don’t quite understand how to “focus on their breath.” But, most kids do understand how to pretend. So, along with their breathing, encourage them to picture a place that makes them happy. Maybe a tree they like to climb in the backyard. Maybe Grandma’s house. Maybe their bedroom. It should be a peaceful place. Even if they love the arcade, that may not be the best place to choose. Give them a few minutes to breathe and focus on their place and then ask them to tell you how they are feeling.
After each technique, it’s important to ask students how they are feeling. Find out why they were angry in the first place and help them put a name to their feelings.