Friday, August 19, 2016


This summer, I have been participating in a weekly Yoga class. My wife had been going regularly and I had been curious about it. Both for the physical benefits and for the opportunity to try something new, I told her I wanted to join her for the class. She thought I was joking at first, but I told her that I had wanted to for some time, but just hadn't been able to fit it into my schedule. I have a very difficult time "turning off" my mind and I thought this would help me learn to focus and relax.  The first class was something that I really enjoyed. Partly because it was completely new to me and partly from the relaxing and inspiring manner of the leader. He led the class with directions, phrases of wisdom, and most of all, continuous encouragement. The second class was actually more difficult, probably because I was focusing more on actually getting some of the poses correct. The classes continued to help me throughout the summer and ironically I ended up going to yoga more than my wife did. I took away three important lessons that I could apply to education and to my life.

Breathe: It sounds silly, but we need to be reminded to breathe sometimes. Not the automatic function of our bodies, but thoughtful deep breathing that is controlled. It's amazing how a few deep breaths can alter our state of mind. They can help diffuse stress and anger and they can also help energize our bodies. We often tell children when they are upset to take a deep breathe. We should heed our own advice and take deep and measured breathes during our day to help our body and mind relax. A good educator knows how to self-regulate.

Balance: In Yoga, we certainly worked on balance by practicing the various poses. It reminded of my wrestling days and the focus on maintaining good balance. However, we also focused on balance for life as well. Is there balance between your mind and body? Is there peace and harmony within? Heavy stuff, but the more we are conscious of it, the sooner we can find that balance. Every educator knows the importance of balance (work/life, structure/nurturing, play/work). I've written about the importance of balance in many posts and a successful educator will find that balance in order to be healthy and productive.

Be in the Moment: This is a hard one for me. I'm constantly thinking about what will happen next and sometimes about what has already happened. I struggle to be in the moment and just enjoy living. Yoga class was great for this. I learned in my first session that wearing my Fitbit was a mistake. I was continually tempted to check the time. I now go in without it and just forget about everything else while I'm in class. There is a great sense of freedom when I can actually just focus on the moment and what I'm doing right then. As educators, this is something that we need to be able to do and also teach our students to do as well.

Each Yoga session ends with a salutation from the instructor: Namaste. It's an ancient word that means "The spirit in me, salutes the spirit in you." What a beautiful way to end each session and a wonderful reminder that we are all equal and that we honor one another. My hope is to apply these lessons at school and in my life and remember to enjoy each moment and help others find their balance and joy as well.

photo credit:


"Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness." - Indra Devi

"Yoga is just good for you!" - Kareem Abdul Jabbar

"Yoga is almost like music in a way; there's no end to it." - Sting

What is your hope for your students? (3 minutes) 


Tuesday, August 30: 8:00-11:00 Building PD @ Rosedale / 12:30-3:30 5 Dimensions @ Churchill
Wednesday, August 31: 8:00-11:35 Level Up 3.0 with special guest George Couros @Churchill / 1:00-3:30 Priority Project Training @ Saint Mary's Cultural Center
Thursday, September 1: Teacher Work Day

Tuesday, September 6: First day for students with 12:10 dismissal
Thursday, September 8: PTA meeting at 6:30 pm

Thursday, September 15: Open House 6:00-6:30 / Curriculum Night 6:30-7:00 pm


  1. Jon,
    I'm not sure if my other comment came through so I'm writing again. I love how you tried something new and took a risk. It sounds like it is really paying off for you! It is so important that we rememeber to take care of ourselves so we can be present in our own lives. I just read a book this summer called The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico. I highly recommend it and think you'd really enjoy it if you haven't read it yet!

    1. Molly,

      I read it during spring break and absolutely loved it!! I follow Dan on Twitter and he always has something wise or witty to say. Thanks for the read and comment!!

  2. Great lessons Jon, thank you for sharing! I appreciate yoga for these same reasons, and I love how you tied them to school leadership!