The Woodward School opened the academic year with a new physical education program based on yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, designed to improve academic outcomes, social-emotional learning, and physical well-being. The program is led by Ms. Lori Scott, who has completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training (RYT 200), and was introduced to students as the school began its 123rd academic year this fall. The Woodward School first opened its doors in 1894, and continues to provide an independent, college preparatory education to girls in grades 6-12.
“I am thrilled to join The Woodward School,” said Scott, “I am excited to show students the positive impact that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can have on their everyday lives, which is something I have experienced first-hand in my life. I appreciate Woodward’s innovative and holistic approach towards education.”
“Ms. Scott is passionate about her practice, and I look forward to the positive impact our new physical education program has on the entire Woodward experience,” said Woodward’s Head of School, Walter Hubley.
Studies show improvement in memory retention and test performance among students from as little as six months of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practice. “Our new physical education program will go a long way towards continued success in Woodward’s classical education program that instills critical thinking skills,” said Hubley. “The first step in the critical thinking process is to ensure that one is in the optimal state of mind to engage in critical thinking.”
Hubley continues, “Studies also show that meditation and mindfulness help students develop a sense of balance in their emotional state, resulting in improved feelings towards themselves and others.” Yoga helps to build confidence and promotes health during crucial development years. As students begin to see improvements with flexibility and physical movement, they develop a sense of self-compassion and inner resilience needed to navigate the emotional stress of being a teenager. While yoga may appear to be a solitary practice, there is also a strong sense of community. Students work together on challenging partner and group activities that allow them opportunities to both support others and be supported.
Woodward’s athletic program team anticipates a reduction of common sports related injuries over time. As the students build a foundation of confidence and strength, they learn more about how the body works, how capable it is, and how to move with ease. Students are introduced to the idea that strength is not only about power, but also about flexibility, balance and endurance. “We expect our athletes will benefit from fewer injuries, as a result of improved strength, balance, and flexibility,” said Scott. A clear correlation exists between the practice of yoga, which engages core muscle groups, and improvement in balance and stability. Common athletic injuries such as hip pain, hamstring pulls, knee injuries, and shoulder pain can be reduced by standard yoga strengthening and increased flexibility. Professional and amateur athletes alike are incorporating yoga into their training regime due to its proven conditioning benefits.
You can learn more about Woodward’s new physical education program and tremendous classical education at TheWoodwardSchool.org.