gym class 2.0

The vast majority of my memories from elementary school gym class involve getting hit with some type of ball. I also vaguely remember a lot of made-up games with rules I never quite understood. Oh, and scooting around on your bum on those little wheeled dollies, and inevitably rolling over and crushing your fingers. (Does anyone else remember this, or was my school just…special?)

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Anyway, point being: gym class didn’t exactly foster a love of sports in me; as a shy, chubby, fairly uncoordinated kid, I kind of really hated gym class.

Seeing as it’s been twenty+ years since I was in elementary school (gross, since when am I that old?), I would have hoped things had changed by now. Not really knowing any school-age kids right now, I’m not very in the loop on what today’s gym classes look like. Maybe soccer-baseball is still a thing…but lord, I hope not.

But there have been a few articles and news spotlights popping up lately that give me hope. AloGives is one foundation that’s gone viral, but there are plenty more, smaller initiatives emerging, all with the aim of introducing yoga to school-age kids. They want to bring yoga and meditation into schools, making it an actual part of the phys-ed curriculum – not only helping their physical health, but their mental as well. I love it!

Yoga didn’t find me until I was twenty-one. And I say it found me, as opposed to I found it, because it feels more true. Any true yogi that’s been through some shit will tell you – yoga comes into your life at the exact moment you really need it. In many ways, I credit my mental and physical wellbeing to my yoga practice. Without yoga I honestly don’t know if I’d be as (reasonably) stable a human being as I am now, but I often wonder – what if I’d started sooner?

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You can help spread the word of Alo’s new foundation by posting on Instagram with the hashtag #AloGives and what age you were when you started yoga!

And I know – I hate the what ifs. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and all the hard things in life are there to teach us something, but still, I can’t help but wonder. Maybe if I’d been introduced to yoga and meditation at an earlier age, I could have used those tools to cope with all the crap going on in my head, instead of the unhealthy behaviours I did use. Maybe my mental health would never have had to suffer like it did. Maybe I could be an altogether different person right now.

Not that I can go back and change any of that, and not that I’d necessarily want to. I like the person I’ve grown into, and I wouldn’t be her without all of my experiences in life, good and bad. But the future generation of kids – wouldn’t it be nice if we could send them out into the world a little better equipped to deal?

It’s been shown in umpteen million studies: yoga reduces stress. Yoga improves your mental health. Yoga promotes a better sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance. Yoga helps in all the ways. And according to other research, kids today deal with more stress and anxiety than ever.

Anyone else having a lightbulb moment here?

More schools are incorporating yoga into their curriculum, and I am 100% on-board. Half the stuff you learn in school is ultimately useless in the real world (when do you ever actually need to know the French word for eraser??) – why not add in some real life skills there too? Tax Filing 101, Cooking – Beyond the Microwave, and General Adulting Shit would all be pretty useful additions, but I think Yoga and Meditation would be just as valuable a class.

Happier, healthier kids, yes plz.

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