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5 Yoga Poses to Calm Your Students’ First Day Jitters

Calm classroom yoga poses are the perfect solution to students’ (and teachers’) inevitable first day jitters.
My students are definitely not the only ones with “First Day Jitters”. I have that classic book memorized and can whip up some delicious jitter-juice to [attempt to] calm our nerves. But let’s be honest: the first day of school is far from easy and breezy. Between teaching the never-ending list of procedures, making it through the lunch with [hopefully] no spilled milk, and doing everything in my power to make sure that no one misses the bus, I’ve often wished there was some magical answer to keeping my cool throughout the day. As teachers, we may not have a magic wand, but we do have yoga! Check out just a few of the many magical benefits of yoga for kids (and teachers) and be sure to grab my Night-Before-School Yoga freebie down below. 

Why yoga?
  • eases anxiety and tension (including those first-day jitters)
  • enhances focus, attention, concentration, comprehension and memory (great for helping kids remember #allthethings on your never-ending-list-of-beginning-of-the-year-procedures-and-routines)
  • supports social and emotional learning (#winning)
  • has a positive influence on overall academic performance (#teachergoals) 

Whether practiced once or practiced regularly, the benefits of classroom yoga make it well worth the time. Although we may not always have 10-20 minutes for a brain break, these poses are perfect for transitions throughout the day, even if you only have literally one minute. 

It's all about that breath, 'bout that breath, no jitters. 😂
In yoga, it's all about the breath. Gentle, mindlful inhales and exhales. Encourage students to breathe mindfully (listening to the sound of and feeling the movement of their breath) while practicing each pose. They can stay in each pose as long or short as you'd like, but I'd recommend at least 5 breath cycles in each pose. If you don't have the time or space to practice poses with your students, take time to practice mindful breathing. This simple tool will help to immediately calm the nervous system, relieving first-day jitters. So let’s get to it. There are so many great yoga poses, but here are 5 gentle poses that are super beneficial for students and promote a calm, relaxed state of  being. 

Benefits of Child's Pose: relieves stress and fatigue; calms the brain

Benefits of Downward Dog Pose: relieves stress, provides mind/body balance; enhances focus

Benefits of Squat Pose: helps with digestion and is calming, soothing, stabilizing, grounding

Benefits of Tree Pose: increases sense of balance, helps with concentration 

Benefits of Volcano Pose: steadies breathing, increases awareness

Yoga practice—even once a week—helps students feel safe, show greater acceptance of others’ differences and demonstrate better conflict management among them- selves. All that adds up to more time and energy for teaching and learning. -Teaching Tolerence

We all get first-day jitters, but have you ever had night-before-school jitters? I most definitely have. For this reason, I love introducing yoga to my students BEFORE the first day of school. How do I do this? My school has Meet the Teacher the day before school starts. At Meet the Teacher, I provide a handout with a little info about yoga and two yoga poses that kids can do at home the night before school. You can grab this FREE editable handout here.

This is the first part of my YogaKids blog series. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any updates or freebies for yoga in your classroom. 

Do you practice yoga with your students? Are you thinking about implementing it this year? Let me know in the comments below!