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PE: Yoga at School: Case study #2

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By Michael Chissick — BE.D (HONS) BWY DIP, Director of Yoga At School

Discover how Yoga at School has helped children with behavioural problems

Children doing yoga

Yoga can help children with behavioural difficulties to stay calm and on task

Yoga at School is not only beneficial for the body, but it can also have a profound effect on behaviour. Here is the story of Sinclair, who has particularly benefited from the yoga programme.


Sinclair is a Year 4 child in a primary school in Redbridge. His class teacher described him as having a low self image, being moody, having a short attention span, and often disrupting the class with silly noises or swearing. He was aggressive to other children and found group work difficult. However, Sinclair enjoyed PE and loved football, and he was sharp and incredibly flexible.

Individual Aims for Sinclair:

  • improving Sinclair’s self esteem
  • encouraging Sinclair to be a role model
  • improving Sinclair’s group communication skills.

Our plan

Our plan was to build on Sinclair’s three main strengths:

Strength 1: Sinclair the demonstrator

We used Sinclair as much as possible to demonstrate new postures and reinforce old ones to the whole class. Before the lesson, the class teacher would remind Sinclair that he was being given the responsibility of showing the other children postures and it meant that he had to show responsible behaviour, too.

Strength 2: Sinclair the ‘helpful teacher’

The children worked in groups of six. Each group had to work as a team to find a way to perform a specific posture in an interesting way. We said that we were looking to reward group skills, which included listening and making decisions. Above all, there was an emphasis on group members helping each other in a kind and encouraging way.

Sinclair’s expertise at the postures set him up as a natural leader and his attention to detail meant that he could spot ways to help children in his group. We had given some input on how to change an aspect of the posture in an encouraging way, and Sinclair learned and applied the skills with ease and a gentleness that his teacher had not seen before.

Strength 3: Sinclair the star at school and home

Sinclair performed the most challenging postures to the whole school at two achievement assemblies, where he was encouraged to explain how yoga had helped him to be calmer and more focused. We discovered that his family eagerly awaited his return from school on yoga day, when he would teach them new postures and play yoga games with his two brothers.


The combination of our behavioural approach and the yoga improved Sinclair’s self esteem and consequently improved his behaviour, because:

  • he experienced a great sense of success
  • the calming and relaxation aspects helped him feel in control
  • he was perceived as an expert by his class and earned their respect.

Read more about Yoga at School.



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