We were thrilled to get the news last fall that one of our Certified Yoga Calm Instructors, Rochelle Gladu Patten, MEd, had been named Minnesota Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MNAHPERD).
A Physical Education Specialist at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Minneapolis, Rochelle has been a key player in the success of the district-wide implementation of Yoga Calm over the past couple years.
We’re very proud of her accomplishment and thought you might like to learn more about this top teacher’s use of Yoga Calm in the classroom – especially how it’s been received by kids and parents, and how its blend of social/emotional games and physical yoga provide extra help for kids as they navigate the challenging transitional years from childhood to the teen years. So we asked her to share. Here’s what she had to say.
I started practicing yoga four years ago at Lifetime Fitness center in Highland Park, a neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kathy Flaminio was my instructor, and she encouraged me to take the Yoga Calm classes offered by our school district (Minneapolis Public Schools). After one session I was hooked and knew this could make a difference not only for me but my students as well.
Kathy’s support was a major factor in my becoming a Certified Instructor. She convinced me that I could provide these wonderful tools for my students, which I have been doing for about two years now, consistently thrilled to see how much they enjoy the yoga. I know they understand the connection between the breathing and the body. Teaching them to listen, be grounded and feel the support of their community has made a big difference in how they feel about themselves.
Emotional development is so important at this age, with hormones raging and all the self-doubt they endure. Yoga Calm practice supports students, and they learn to believe the feelings they have are normal and that the community will provide for them. I know my students have learned how to calm themselves, become better test takers, focus and de-escalate when in crisis. Students have shared how knowing their inner voice has helped them.
I feel my students benefit from listening and connecting with their breathing while settling into their poses and feeling their inner strength. We ride the breath and spend time letting go all that it takes to come to the mat and be in the present moment. I remind them that this is about them – their favorite subject – and that the word “yoga” means to unite and connect. When we have to cancel a class because of a school function, the students are disappointed.
In the Minneapolis Star Tribune last year, there was an article about yoga in the schools. Our school – Susan B. Anthony – was highlighted because a parent had told the reporter about us. Parents are thrilled that we practice yoga! They’ve told me time and again that they think it is the best for their students.
We are proud at Anthony of our inclusion model, working with the adapted physical education program and the sixth grade students in yoga practice and other activities. I work toward teaching my students the intangibles of positive self- esteem, connection, compassion and support of one another and the classroom community.
My hope for them is that they will be able to make a difference in the lives of others if they understand who they are and how they are part of a community.
Yoga Calm works well in Physical Education Classes in middle school. Try it and watch how kids grow as a result of their personal connection. Teach poses, go slow, use the worksheets, calm music, mats, scents – it all adds to the experience. Go for it!
Congratulations, Rochelle, on your impressive achievement! Keep doing the great work you’re doing!
For more information on how you can become a Certified Yoga Calm Instructor, please see our Certification info page.
Image source: Minneapolis Star Tribune.