Yoga In Your School

Why Yoga in the School?

Being a successful teacher requires great energy, inner strength, resourcefulness and creativity. As with any classroom instruction, it is important for the teacher to provide the model. If teachers have inner strength and harmony, children will feel it and imbibe it. Through sharing the simple techniques presented in this book, teachers may inspire students to enhance both physical and mental strength and develop habits that will enable them to take responsibility for their own well-being for the rest of their lives.

The Benefits of Yoga in Your School

Our modern world is highly advanced in technology, yet we have lost many of the ancient keys to the knowledge of the art of living. Recently, Yoga has become increasingly popular worldwide and an estimated 35 million people in North America now take a Yoga class once a week.

Yoga is currently practiced in many educational institutions worldwide. In several countries in Europe and South America, Yoga has been taught in schools for more than twenty-five years. Many schools in North America have already trained teachers to include Yoga as a regular part of the class­room day. It is also becoming more common as a regular part of the physical educa­tion curriculum where it offers a non-competitive alternative to competitive sports.

In addition to enhancing physical and mental well-being, Yoga teaches students to concentrate, releases tension and develops inner qualities such as patience and insight. With regular practice, students learn to devel­op better self-control, inner confidence and focus. Regular Yoga practice unifies the two sides of the brain, allowing information and knowledge to enter the brain at deeper levels. Practicing the exercises together enhances the relationship between teacher and students, enabling them to work together productively and enjoy the learning process.
Integrate Yoga Breaks into Your Daily Schedule

Take a Yoga Break

Yoga in Your School presents a series of short Yoga breaks, simple breathing and movement exercises that teachers may easily insert into their daily classroom sched­ule. Yoga in the School Each exercise takes less than three minutes, so that teachers may present them regularly or as needed, when attention or energy begins to wane. These short exer­cise segments may also be combined creatively to create longer sequences for phys­ical education classes, playgrounds, athletics, recreation centers, camps, and dance schools. Taking a few minutes to breathe and stretch between activities will allow students to better assimilate knowledge learned, create a more harmonious class­room and inspire a more joyful, effective learning process.

Yoga Break Benefits

  • Develop motor skills and balance
  • Create physical and mental strength and flexibility
  • Energize body and mind and bring more oxygen to the blood cells and brain
  • Make breath, blood and lymph fluids circulate better
  • Release physical and mental tensions that have accumulated while students who have been sitting for a long time
  • Enhance concentration
  • Develop better listening skills
  • Improve posture
  • Bring students into the present moment
  • Exercise the body and balance the emotions
  • Open the shoulders and chest, allowing students to relax and breathe deeper during their classes
  • Open the hip joints and prepare students to sit comfortably
  • Teach patience and insight
  • Create a calm harmonious classroom

Bring Yoga to your School

Join us for a five day training workshop (March 21-25, 2011) led by Yoga In Your School author Teressa Asencia and learn how to integrate yoga into a daily classroom schedule and take your personal yoga practice to a new level of playfulness. This workshop is designed to help teachers integrate simple movement and breathing exercises into their daily classroom schedule to fulfill their daily DPA (daily physical activity).

Learn more about this training workshop at

March Greetings from Shankar

The daffodils and crocuses, undaunted by last week’s surprise snowfall and freeze, are showing their buds again, the cover crops on the Centre farm are lush and green, and a myriad of little birds can be seen foraging among the shrubs and grasses. Spring is on the way.

March is the month we swing back into program mode. New people arrive this week and familiar faces return as the administrative infrastructure takes shape again, and we begin with a visioning weekend for the Dharma Sara Board. While the Centre Committee looks after the day to day running of the Centre, ensuring smooth functioning of programs and facilities, the Board’s task is the big picture. How should we change our program offerings over the coming years? Do we need new buildings? Should we expand farming at the Centre? How much of the Centre’s resources should go to making the Centre more sustainable in terms of energy and food? Will we be able to afford the changes we’d like to make? Can we devise a plan for leadership succession?

Out of deliberations such as these will come a strategic plan for the coming years that will guide the Centre’s direction as it moves forward in uncertain times. If you have ideas on these and related matters, send us an email, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Upcoming Programs Highlights

Yoga In Your School

The first full program for 2011 is a five day workshop entitled Yoga in Your School led by Teressa Asencia, perhaps the most-qualified teacher in this emerging area. Yoga in Your School presents a series of short yoga breaks designed for teachers to easily insert into their daily classroom schedule. Each posture or breathing technique may be practiced in less than three minutes, so that they may be used regularly or as needed, when attention or energy begins to wane. These short exercise segments may also be combined to create longer sequences for physical education classes, playgrounds, athletics, recreation centers, camps, and dance schools. This is conveniently offered during the school spring break.

Yoga Getaways

If you are simply looking for an inspiring weekend of yoga practice, the first Yoga Getaways of the season take place March 25th – 27th and April 22nd – 24th. The March and April Getaways are not generally as full as the summer or fall weekends, so they offer an opportunity to experience a more intimate, cozy atmosphere at the Centre.

Loving Your Life – a Weekend in the Work of Byron Katie

On the April 1st – 3rd weekend, we are pleased to host for the first time a workshop entitled Loving Your Life – a Weekend in the Work of Byron Katie facilitated by Caitlin Frost and Kim Howden. The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all suffering.

Ayurveda and Yoga Lifestyle Workshop

If your interest is health and you are seeking knowledge and practical tools for a deeper integration of wellness into all aspects of your daily life, we offer the Ayurveda and Yoga Lifestyle Workshop May 20th -22nd. This is an experiential weekend where you will learn practical self-care methods that integrate yoga and ayurveda. Girija Edwards has just returned from her most recent ayurvedic studies in India and is full of inspiration and enthusiasm which will no doubt infuse this hands-on weekend.

We hope to see you here soon!

Pregnancy Yoga and Childbirth Preparation

Pregnancy Yoga and Childbirth Preparation
Conscious Change and Serving the Next Generation
by Kashi Richardson

Pregnancy Yoga is a vital niche in bringing about the conscious change towards peace that we are all seeking.  Yoga not only offers the very best and much needed support to women during pregnancy and childbirth, but it also nurtures the unborn children, giving them the optimum environment from which to emerge and become our future society.

Emotional Preparation

In the years of providing classes for pregnant women, I am always astounded by how much they just need to rest, relax and tune in. Their lives are so busy juggling careers and families that they rarely get a chance to acknowledge and honour the miracle that is happening inside them. Just by becoming quiet, many of them are moved to tears in their very first savasana! There is perhaps no other event that so profoundly changes a woman’s life as having a baby. She is being asked to put another person’s needs ahead of her own, the self sacrifice of the karma yogi. The internal focus and awareness developed through yoga allows her to process her feelings so she can make the transformation smoothly and be ready.

Physical Preparation

In our modern technological world, pregnancy and birth are seen largely as medical events to be measured, charted and analyzed. What is often missing is an emphasis on the body’s inherent wisdom to grow a baby, give birth to it and nurture it. The yoga postures create balance as well as strength and endurance and help to relieve many common issues. But mainly they help a woman gain confidence in her body and the faith that she was designed for this purpose and has the ability to do it. Then like the generations of women who have gone before, pregnancy and birth can be appreciated as natural occurrences.

An immense capacity for concentration and forbearance are required for labour and childbirth, and preparation is essential. Yoga emphasizes experiential knowledge as opposed to reading about it. Every week we practice the breathing exercises, we make the low vibrations of vocal sounds, we push and blow, we get in touch with the pelvic floor. We practice relaxing and letting go, and surrendering to the immense power of birth. We listen within to the baby and tune in to our own intuitive knowing. These tools will serve her during the hours required to give birth. They will also serve her during the many years of mothering ahead.

Connection and Support

As a woman’s body changes, becoming fuller and heavier from week to week, she thrives on being in the presence of other women to share and affirm her experience. Feelings of isolation fall away. Body image issues are processed so she can feel the beauty of a blossoming belly and the sense of purpose in caring for this child. Her heart opens as she accepts herself, appreciates her own mother, and feels connection with all mothers of all time. She even feels the Divine mother manifest through her making it all possible.

There is no other intimacy quite like that shared by a pregnant woman and the child inside her womb. All the benefits of yoga that she receives pass on to her baby, uplifting the consciousness and well-being of them both. It sets the tone for the positive choices she makes in raising her child and will contribute to making the world a better place, one child at a time.

Expand and adapt your current yoga teaching skills and knowledge to serve the needs of pregnant women. Join us at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga for
Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training
April 29 – May 2, 2011

Your Personal Altar

personal altar
Your personal altar is an expression of your inner self, and so each one is as unique as the person who makes it. An altar may be religious, or it may be the altar of your heart — what’s important is that you are creating your personal sacred space. Your altar might be on a table, a shelf or a windowsill; its purpose is to give you a quiet place to be with yourself. Use it for prayer and meditation, inspirational reading, reflection and journal writing — or just sit quietly, pause, and let the demands of daily life fall away.

How to Make Your Altar

  1. Select a place that can be just yours, with room enough for a small table and a cushion or a chair to sit on. If you don’t have a private spot choose the corner of a room or even a corner of your desk. Collect images and objects that are meaningful to you or that inspire you, and arrange them on your altar in a way that pleases you.
  2. Ideally the things on your altar will help you to leave behind the stresses of daily life and connect with your inner self in a peaceful way. You might choose photos of inspiring people as well as items that have spiritual significance for you or precious things that people have given you.
  3. In planning your altar, think about how you’ll use it as well as why you want to have on it. Your altar is a reflection of your life and of your inner self — it is complete when you’re happy with the way it looks or how it makes you feel.

One friend has things of nature on her altar because, for her, a feeling of unity comes from being in nature. She has shells, stones, leaves and branches on her altar as well as spiritual readings and other things that are meaningful and inspiring to her.

Another friend has her altar at ground level. Her young grandchildren are involved, bringing things that are special to them. This altar is always alive and changing, as some things are removed and others added. The same friend has a small, stuffed Piglet on her altar because Piglet is playful, loving and devoted — qualities she admires and likes to encourage in herself. Her altar is a joyful place, she says. It cheers her up.

Activity from The Salt Spring Experience.

Photo by: Avia Venefica

Silken Chocolate Pudding

chocolate pudding
Absolutely delicious! You must use the best Belgian chocolate to ensure complete success.

Serves 8-10

  • 4 1/2 cups (1.08 L) silken tofu (3 boxes)
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) Belgian chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract


  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Blend the melted chocolate, tofu, and vanilla in a food processor.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Salt Spring Experience.

Photo by: llsimon53