Heart-to-Heart Connection

To inspire and be inspired!

Yoga With the Brain in Mind

The enthusiasm of the school-aged special education students at Tucson, Arizona’s Centennial Elementary shows Donna Youdelman is no ordinary teacher.

Veteran educator going on her 21st year, Youdelman lives Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Through yoga education, Youdelman continues to empower her students with the skills necessary for succeeding both in school and in life.

Centennial Elementary is located at the heart of the low socio-economic, highly mobile area of Tucson where 74 percent of it student population receive free or reduced lunches. Many are raised in homes where their basic needs of love and security often go unmet.

“With the assistance of our occupational therapist, I began teaching yoga to five students. Students immediately took to yoga.  One year later, I now teach yoga to 65 students,” said Youdelman.

This summer, Youdelman enrolled in Kripalu’s Yoga Ed. Program — an interplay of body, mind, and energy.

The regular practice of yoga has shown physical benefits including reduced anxiety, reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, and increased endurance, flexibility, and energy.

Alison Vigil, on her 23rd year of teaching, also affirms the benefits of yoga.

“Yoga helps students focus and provide positive outlet for their energy.  The yoga practice helps the brain connect between its left and right hemisphere — between logic and creativity.  After their 45-minute practice, students are relaxed and more focused.”

Students learn teamwork, problem-solving, nutrition, and that yogis come in all shapes and sizes.  In yoga, people are not judged by how far they can stretch but by how hard they try.

“Our children are our future — our leaders,” said Youdelman.  “We must empower our children with the knowledge and skills to take care of their hearts, minds, and bodies — to learn to relate positively and collaborate with others.


December 17, 2008 - Posted by | Attitude, Body, Change, Education, Heart, Mind, Peace, Spirit | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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