News

Yoga Added to US Elementary School Lesson Plan

Baltimore program aims to give students better problem-solving tools

Along with reading and arithmetic, school children in the East Coast U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, are learning yoga.


The aim is to help inner-city children stay out of trouble on tough city streets, by giving them better tools to solve problems.

First, the students do their homework. Then, they sit together to meditate and practice yoga.

A breathing exercise, called "Breath of Fire," is 9-year-old Janaisa Brown's favorite.

"When you breathe, it just brings all your senses together," she says, "and it calms you down really a lot."

Atman Smith is one of the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation, which sponsors the after-school program. He says yoga can help young people deal with life's difficulties.

"It's like a serious cycle in most inner cities where people don't know how to resolve conflicts peacefully, that's why there is so much violence and abuse," Smith says. "I see in us teaching these kids meditation and giving them these tools to self-regulate, that it is going to change, I guess, the social construct and the way the inner city works and is thought of."

Tyrone Boykins has participated in the program for two years at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School. Yoga and meditation have become part of his daily life and he even teaches some classes.

"When I wake up and I get ready, I do the sunrise [yoga position] because I was told that, when you do the sunrise, it helps you when you are confused," he says, "and it helps you wake up and when you go to school you have a good day."

Principal Carlillian Thompson brought the program to her school two years ago. She places some of her most troublesome students in the class instead of suspending them - and says for one group of fifth-grade boys, it has made a difference.

"When the boys got in the program, their behavior didn't change overnight.  But I could see, over time, that they learned how to, instead of using their fists, to resolve different situations, that they started with the breathing techniques. They began to talk about their problems, instead of reacting like they used to," Thompson says. "So I said there must be something really good about this program if it can change them."

She wants to expand the program at her school and hopes other schools will join in.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs