A Spanish Teacher’s Journey to a Calmer, More Focused Classroom

The Effectiveness of Yoga in School and Why We Need Science

Let’s hear from Jo Ibarra, an experienced educator with endorsements in Spanish and ELL at Rustburg High School in Rustburg, Virginia. She is also the Varsity Swim team coach. She has taught students ranging from pre-K to community college, in Guatemala and the U.S. An avid yoga practitioner, she is enthusiastic to share this practice with others. Two years ago, she completed Yoga 4 Classroom training. Since then, she has been successfully using the resource with her students and swimmers.

Jo Ibarra, Spanish & ELL at Rustburg High School, Rustburg, VA

In a bustling high school environment, where students often face stress and fatigue, I, a Spanish teacher, have found an innovative way to rejuvenate my students and enhance their learning experience: Yoga 4 Classrooms. This is my second year of using this yoga program and I am so pleased with the results.

I begin most classes with a brief yoga session. These sessions are strategically timed at the start of the lesson, following a particularly challenging test, or during a noticeable dip in energy levels. I use the “At Your Desk, Stand Strong, and Loosen Up” cards as a guide. The exercises are simple and require no special equipment.

I use various Yoga 4 Classrooms activities to stretch, relax, and refocus my students. I start with gentle stretching exercises that target common areas of tension such as the neck, shoulders, and back. Stretching promotes better posture and increased circulation, which is essential for maintaining focus.

Next, I guide my students through a mindful breathing exercise, using the “Let’s Breathe” cards. This practice is especially beneficial before exams or presentations, instilling a sense of calm and confidence.

The session often concludes with a brief guided relaxation, using the “Imagination Vacation” or “Be Well” cards. During this time, students are encouraged to close their eyes and visualize a peaceful scene. This relaxation technique helps to reset the mind and prepare students for the next activity.

The impact of incorporating Yoga 4 Classrooms into the daily routine has been profound. Students report feeling more relaxed and better able to concentrate during lessons. By integrating Yoga 4 Classrooms, I not only enhance my students’ physical and mental well-being but also create a more conducive learning environment. This holistic approach to education helps students to thrive academically and personally, fostering a healthier and more balanced school experience.

It brings us great joy to hear about Yoga 4 Classrooms making a difference in schools. Thank you Jo for the many ways you positively impact your school! We would love to hear how you are using Yoga 4 Classrooms at your school, too. Contact us and share your story!