We are beyond excited about the growing role of yoga in schools, and about Bent On Learning’s role in supporting the educational journey of thousands of students. To date, we have implemented yoga programs in 54 schools in New York City; taught over 22,000 students; and certified 100 teachers as children’s yoga instructors.

Today’s inner city students are leading ever-more turbulent lives. Many are confronted by a myriad of social and economic challenges – poverty, homelessness, social and domestic violence and other trauma. They are in critical need of opportunities to move and breathe freely, release stress and calm their emotions so they can relax, focus and learn.

Yet budget cuts and overcrowding leave many schools unable to meet even minimal physical education standards. The lack of time, space and money for adequate health and physical education is producing a class of students whose health and learning readiness is suffering. It’s also contributing to an epidemic of obesity, toxic stress and other health problems. Our most vulnerable children are left with the fewest options.

Enter yoga as the ideal solution. Why? Yoga offers a proven ability to reduce stress and enhance physical and mental wellbeing. It requires minimal space with no need for equipment or special clothing and can be delivered right in the classroom. We continually remind our students that they already have everything they need to cultivate inner health and happiness.

By teaching them how to use their own bodies, minds and breath to take care of themselves, yoga prepares kids for learning in and out of the classroom and sets them up for academic, as well as personal, success. Beyond the physical benefits, yoga has a positive measurable impact on students’ social, emotional and cognitive skills. It reveals their innate resilience, intelligence and strength and empowers them to live up to their greatest potential.

We are honoured for this opportunity to integrate yoga into students’ lives and to transform classrooms into vibrant, more compassionate learning environments where kids can thrive.

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