EFFECTS OF INCORPORATION YOGA INTO A CLASSROOM ON STUDENTENGAGEMENT DURING LITERACY LESSONSbyDamia E. ToyrasIncorporating physical activity into the daily lives of our students is essential to their health and wellbeing. School physical education programs have been cut because of curriculum time, funding, or staffing (Metzler, McKenzie, Mars, Barrett-Williams, & Ellis, 2013). Children spend the majority of their school day sitting at desks. Our students need movement to focus their bodies, clear their minds, and prepare to engage in our teachings (Gillen et al., 2007). Schools need to take a leadership role in keeping students physically active. (Turner, Chriqui, & Chaloupka, 2013). One form of physical activity entering schools is yoga. In this paper, I examine research on the possible benefits of incorporating yoga into a school setting as a means to help student engagement. Children ages 8-18 watch an average of four hours of television and spend almost two more hours on other electronics each day (Dowshen, 2011).The amount of obesity among elementary school children has more than quadrupled, from 4% in the late 1970s to nearly 20% in 2009-2010 (Turner et al., 2013). Our children are facing devastating problems from their lack of physical activity and from the rising rate of obesity. Physical activity is not only beneficial for the health of our bodies; physical activity increases academic performance and stimulates our brain (Harr, Doneyko, & Lee, 2012). As teachers, we cannot control what happens when children leave our schools. We can control some of what happens when our students are with us. Therefore, we should seek opportunities to engage our students in physical activities during the school day, and particularly within the classroom since additional staffing would not be required.
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