LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Practicing mindfulness has shown to have many physical and mental benefits for adults, but striking a yoga pose can also help children in many ways -- from promoting self-awareness to enhancing concentration and fostering learning.
SCHOOL Kids Yoga & Mindfulness is a weekly program created by Kelly Wood, that is implemented at some Los Angeles Unified School District Schools, like Milagro Charter Elementary School.
"It helps me calm down and I like that I don't really just get to be stressed out," student Arianny Pulido said.
"I've been doing yoga for two years," student Matthew Saavedra said. "It's relaxing and peaceful."
The children sit and learn how calm breathing helps them slow down. Many of the students say it encourages better choices and fosters patience.
"SCHOOL Kids Yoga & Mindfulness program started in 2002," Founder Kelly Wood said. "When this was not on people's radar at all."
Wood leads them in simple, coordinated movements while teaching them to quietly repeat phrases such as, "calm brain, calm heart."
After 20 minutes of yoga, Wood says the students are more focused and ready to learn.
The yoga program is through Smiling Calm Hearts Open Our Learning, Inc. (SCHOOL, Inc.), a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that leads innovative programs in TK-12 education, helping to establish yoga and meditation mindfulness for public school classrooms.
"We've made it a ritual in our classroom to practice kids yoga after we come back from recess, lunch or P.E.," teacher Daniela Encarnacion said. "It helps create a calm environment...and it really does work!"
After practicing calm breathing and relaxing methods, the students feel it improves their test taking skills and overall academic achievement.
"Across the board, it doesn't matter what neighborhood we're living in, these kinds of skills are beneficial for our students and for teachers," Wood said.
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