A Story of … A Passion for Yoga

Kavita Patel, Owner of Monkey Bear Yoga has a passion for Yoga
Rich Boschetti, DPIE Academy Director
August 14, 2020

Yoga has become one of the fastest growing courses in the DPIE After School Program and given the times we live in, that is not surprising. It seems there are many reasons for the increase in student interest and participation which go well beyond physical well-being. In these COVID-19 pandemic days, practicing Yoga plays a very important roll in helping students maintain a sense of balance, control and structure in their lives that is increasingly hard to find.

The Union of Mind, Body and Breath

Ms Kavita Patel, Monkey Bear Yoga

“Yoga literally means “union,” explained Ms. Kavita Patel, the owner of Monkey Bear Yoga who is offering Yoga in a distance learning format this fall in the DPIE After School Program.  “Yoga unites mind, body and breath. Its benefits are immense. There are numerous physical benefits such as increased strength and flexibility, but practicing yoga does much more. It teaches us how to work through frustration which many kids are experiencing right now. Yoga poses and breathing exercises help develop patience and concentration. Most importantly, the connection between mind and body are deepened in the practice of yoga. Stress is greatly reduced with a regular yoga practice.” 

At a time when psychologists are telling us that the stress level of school-age children has increased significantly because of the lack of structure, isolation and the uncertainty created by the pandemic, Yoga is a way for students to gain back some sense of control in their lives.


Yoga Provides Tools for Control

“We are faced with an ever-changing world,” said Ms Patel. “Yoga gives children the tools to cope with their emotions and feel in control of themselves. In each class session we explore a principle of yoga; nonviolence, compassion, truthfulness, determination and inner peace. These are big ideas that play a role in our ever-changing lives. Yoga gives us the ability to approach these big concepts through asana (yoga poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises).”


Three Major Benefits of Yoga

Increased stress in children can lead to more challenging issues like lack of sleep, fatigue, overeating, anxiety and depression. These things can also lead to a drop in school performance and increased conflicts within the family. Luckily, yoga can help kids cope with stress and psychologists point to three major benefits of yoga for kids as well as adults.

  1. Yoga can slow down and quiet your thinking – One of the oldest yoga texts, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, defines yoga as the cessation of the fluctuation of the Mind. Mindfulness keeps you present in your body and out of your racing mind.

  2. Yoga relaxes you – During a Yoga practice, students learn to breathe deeply and to release built-up negative energy and stress.

  3. Yoga can clear your mind through meditation – At the end of each Yoga class, Ms. Patel moves into savasana which is also known as the corpse pose.  This is a time when she has students lie on their mat and relax every inch of their body. This is usually a time for guided visualization which is designed to help clear a student’s mind and create a sense of peace and calm.


Introducing A New Class for Middle School Students

Because demand for Yoga classes has increased, Ms. Patel will offer online courses this fall for students in grades 3 – 5 and for the first time, she will offer a class for middle school students in grades 6 - 8. We recommend you give it a try, we think you will be glad you did.

Example of a typical Zoom lesson

In these uncertain times, DPIE is striving to offer a variety of courses that helps students learn and develop in a variety of ways. It is clear to us that Yoga can help students cope with the stresses of our “new normal,” but at the same time, it is enjoyable and fun. One of the best things about Yoga is that it can be done in groups, with friends or alone, at home, in the yard or at a park, it really travels well.

Namaste! “The light inside me bows to the light inside of you.”