Teaching Yoga in Middle School

Students performing yoga

The thought of teaching yoga to my “middles” (middle school students) was a bit frightening.  However, I knew the benefits would far outweigh the challenge, so I went for it.

I had previously only taught yoga on a “Viking Day” (workout day), and the thought of teaching it as an entire unit was almost overwhelming.  But, putting some authenticity and genuine thought into how my middles would buy-in made this a favorite unit for them and myself.

Teach Students How to Relax

Our students, at any age, need to be taught how to coordinate their body and mind, and maybe most of all, be taught how to relax.  We have technology at our fingertips every day that allows us to always be “on”.  It’s time we teach the benefits of being connected with your body.

Yoga studio signI built the unit around the Yoga Studio App available on the Apple and Google Play App Stores. 

This app really helped me to pull it off.  It was always so hard to teach yoga, manage students, and correct form.  With this app, I could pick their level of ability, hit “play” on my iPad and really engage, help students with form and technique, and manage my students when needed. 

There are so many great teaching points and learning targets that can come with this unit.

How to Use the Yoga Studio App

Within the app, there are beginning, intermediate and advanced workouts for strength and flexibility.  You choose what fits your students.

Below are the “nuts and bolts” of the unit.

15_07_Yoga PowerPoint-min

Check out my teaching and grading criterion!

Middle School Yoga Lesson Plans:

Day 1:

  1. Sun Salutation Warm-Up with the “Yoga Studio” App (12 min.)
  2. Tabata Yoga (20 min.)
  3. Beginner Combination (30 min.)
  4. Relaxation (5 min.)
  5. The importance of water

Day 2: 

  1. Sun Salutation Warm-Up with the “Yoga Studio” App (12 min.)
  2. “Goal” Pose
  3. Tabata Yoga (20 min.) Skills Assessment/Partner Practice
  4. Water Challenge (water bottle and 64 oz.)
  5. Intermediate Workout (30 min.)
  6. Relaxation (5 min.)
  7. The importance of doing something good for yourself

Day 3:

  1. Sun Salutation Warm-Up with the “Yoga Studio” App (12 min.)
  2. The importance of nutrition (re-visit do smoething good for you/water challenge)
  3. Goal” Pose
  4. Advanced Strength (15 min.) (6th grade = advanced strength only)
  5. Advanced Flexibility (30 min.) 
  6. Relaxation (5 min.)

Day 4:

  1. Sun Salutation Warm-Up with the “Yoga Studio” App (12 min.)
  2. Advanced Combination (40 min.) (6th grade = 15 min.)
  3. Teaching Practice with Partner and Sequences (7th and 8th grade only)
  4. Relaxation (10 min.)

Day 5: 

  1. Sun Salutation Warm-Up with the “Yoga Studio” App (4 min.)
  2. Teaching
  3. Advanced Strength Workout (15 or 30 min.)
  4. Do we have any “goal poses” to share?
  5. Group yoga pose for a picture
  6. Relaxation (5 min.)
  7. My gift to you… handouts and packets
  8. “Namaste”

Goal Pose:

Yoga goal pose

Group Pose:

Yoga group pose

Benefits of Yoga

As Yoga for Classrooms mentions, Yoga helps to:

  • Develop a strong and flexible body
  • Increase balance, body awareness, and coordination
  • Improve posture
  • Help reduce injuries
  • Relieve anxiety and stress
  • Teach students how to relax
  • Improve concentration
  • Help students get creative
  • Help develop discipline and self-control

Other Yoga Resources

Teaching lifelong health and fitness is our job.  Exposing students to something new can be a great way to get out of your own safety box.

Jo is a Physical Education Teacher and Department Chair at Lesher IB World Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. She is also a member of the Physical Education Cadre Team for the Colorado Department of Education. She was the 2005 Central District Middle School PE Teacher of the Year and the 2004 Missouri Middle School PE Teacher of the Year.

Jo is a Physical Education Teacher and Department Chair at Lesher IB World Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. She is also a member of the Physical Education Cadre Team for the Colorado Department of Education. She was the 2005 Central District Middle School PE Teacher of the Year and the 2004 Missouri Middle School PE Teacher of the Year.

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