Monday, April 19, 2010

City stretches phys ed curriculum through yoga

City stretches phys ed curriculum through yoga For some students, physical education classes offer a needed respite from the monotony of shuffling between stuffy classrooms.

Sure, PE classes are needed for some students -- those with bodies.

Every student should have should have solid physical education instruction. We need our schools to also have time in the day for more kinetic stuff -- like recess.

For others, they can be treacherous. They can feel singled out or self-conscious about their fitness and body shape in comparison to peers.
Pittsburgh Public Schools are integrating yoga into the phys ed curriculum to diversify the gym experience and give students at different levels of fitness an activity they can adapt to at their own pace and still have a workout.
English, math and science can be treacherous too for some. If you can't read, how do you recite a poem?

Yoga is a good and should be part of physical education -- but the treacherous part is just for the sensational.

"We build our [phys ed] curriculum around five components -- body composition, flexibility, muscular, strength and cardiovascular endurance -- and yoga has a direct impact on all of them," said Jerri Lippert, the school district's chief academic officer.

Yoga has very little to do with cardio endurance nor strength. Next to nothing. But, fine. Yoga is still deals with one aspect and there, with flexibility, it might be the best activity anywhere. Don't over inflate the benefits of yoga to justify it. Just do it for the benefit of flexibility. Plus, there are other benefits too from world culture to mental sharpness.

Yoga's inventor is from Shadyside. Who would have thought? :) Yoga is even great for kids who are doing well in the management of their bodies too. Of course yoga can enhance one's mental maturity. Excellent.

The killer is that funding was needed from the Grable Foundation and the Heinz Endowments among others. Why must the foundations fund the program? The schools should be doing this as mats to sit upon are not that expensive. Don't we pay taxes so the schools can pay teachers?

Yoga is phys ed. But yoga is not really about a confidence-building interlude for students. Far from it. Yoga will do more to tear down the super confident than anything. So don't sell yoga for its confience-building. Sell it for its learning value and physical value. All of physical education should be a big benefit for those who have had a hard time with some of with exercise and sports. Physical education is not about sports. All in all, every young person has had a hard time with exercise as each is still growing and just learning about self.

"Yoga allows an entry point for students who may feel like they don't want to get on a track or soccer field after third period, for example, because they don't feel like having to go through with the hustle of sweating at that point in their day," said Dr. Lippert.


Yoga is an entry point for students who don't have enough time to shower. Yoga is a sweat-free activity. Yoga fit within a one period class. Yoga is a recess from the school day and even an entry point for NOT doing harder cardio exercise. Yoga is a good option for Physical Education if the aim is minimal disruption for a strictly academic day.

The girls wanted to do yoga instead of circuit training (weight lifting and cardiovascular exercises). If yoga is all that they do and the other activites are nixed -- then the school district has failed our students. However, if yoga is far different from anything that they did in the past -- then the school district has failed too. Yoga should have its place and time in PE. But PE needs to be more than just yoga.

"They have learned it, they know it, and now they don't even need us to show them how to bend and stretch and meditate on the exercise. They just do it," said Ms. Wolski.
That statement, "They don't even need us," is a back breaker. Say what?

1 comment:

Marina said...
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