Children’s Yoga in School for Bullying Prevention
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“Jivatam Jyotiretu Vidyam,” “True education (self-knowledge) enlightens human life,” according to Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar the founder of the international Neohumanist Education System and the Ananda Marga Schools.
“If we wish to create lasting peace we must begin with the children” Mahatma Gandi
There is a growing concern throughout America regarding the increase in childhood stress, bullying, and violence. Living in Colorado, we are haunted by the incident at Columbine High School when two students felt the need to take revenge and take action in a violent manner leaving 15 dead and creating fear and sadness in the hearts of students and parents. This was the first wake up call that affluent, suburban schools were not always safe places. Violence and bullying continue to escalate according to statistics. Seventeen states across the United States report having instituted laws to reduce or eliminate bullying in schools.. In Colorado, each school district is required to have a bully prevention policy and program. This paper will discuss a classically based yoga program incorporated within an upper elementary school system in Boulder, CO. The main hypothesis of this project was to evaluate whether yoga training would effectively decrease bullying and increase anger management for 4th and 5th grade students. The rationale for this hypothesis was based on the first vow of raja yoga, ahimsa, that one vows to be non-violent to self and others.
The yoga curriculum was presented for six, 45 minute sessions during the academic school day for 101, 4th and 5th grade students in 2004, repeated for 108 students in 2005 and reviewed again for 105, students in 2006. The children learned yoga philosophy, practiced yoga postures, learned breathing and concentration techniques, as well as, traditional conflict resolution strategies and dialogues. Through the use of pre and post questionnaires the program was evaluated and statistics obtained. The program proved to be successful and effective. Boulder students’ self reported a decrease by 60% in their own bulling behavior and a 42% decrease in regard to being bullied by others at school A comprehensive yoga program can greatly reduce violence and bullying, but, the long term lasting effects are still unclear. The results of this intervention acknowledge yoga as an effective method for increasing anger management skills and decreasing physical outbursts of violence for upper elementary school age children during the time of implementation. Click the Download link to read more….