Yoga in the Classroom

It all started in English class. For the second year in a row, I was planning to enter my 7th and 8th grade students in the St. Louis Symphony’s Express the Music writing contest. Their task was to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and to compose a poem or piece of prose inspired by the music.

Everything started off well enough, until the students realized the classical composition was twelve minutes long. I’m sure you can imagine the moans and groans that followed. I felt like I was back at home with toddlers! But then it occurred to me — they needed a lesson in mindfulness. And honestly, so did I.

We’re ALL switching tabs, scrolling forward, and clicking back and forth constantly throughout the day. Rarely do we stop to focus on one single task or to listen to an entire piece of music without doing or thinking about 98 different things. So, I decided that the very next day, my 7th and 8th graders would practice beginner yoga in the classroom.

Did the students laugh, fall over, and act like touching their toes was a special kind of torture? Yes, absolutely. But in the end, did they listen to the music without distractions? Oh yeah, they did! I played the classical piece again during our final relaxation, and they were calm, quiet, and mindful. #teacherwin

Even better, they begged me to plan a monthly yoga session for them because they felt so relaxed. And now, it’s our new thing. Each month, I send reminder emails for students to bring towels, blankets, or mats to school, and we practice a YouTube guided yoga session.

So if you’re a teacher, or even a parent, look at your planner and consider adding in a little stretching, breathing, or yoga to your monthly routine. You’d be surprised what yoga in the classroom can do for your students, your children, and especially for you.

Thank you emails from parents are a nice perk, too.

❤️ Natalie

5 Clean Swaps You Can Make This Year

January is my favorite month for a few different reasons: first, my birthday is on the 7th, second, I’m refreshed after my Christmas break from school, and third, Victoria and This Is Us return to regular television.

But most of all, I love January because I get to fill out my new paper planner (I’m old school here) and set goals for making THIS the best year yet.

But even if you keep your calendar on your smartphone, you didn’t have a Christmas break or a recent birthday, and you’re not a fan of British royal dramas or Milo Ventimiglia (who even are you?), there are several swaps you can make this year to make health and simplicity a priority.

  1. Clean up your shower with a cotton liner: I’ll admit, I threw out our plastic shower liner before telling my husband. He was so confused one morning when he realized it was gone! But once I explained my crazy, and the fact that plastic liners are made of PVC and contain VOCs, he was happy with a cotton curtain and a clean shower.
  2. Pick out new pots and pans: Do your research on non-stick pots and pans, and you’ll find yourself falling down the toxic-laden rabbit hole. I don’t know about you, but as the main cook in our family, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to safely serve our family meals. This year, I switched to stainless-steel pots and pans. Consider these, or cast-iron, to more safely prepare your family’s meals.
  3. Switch to safer beauty: Scary fact–currently, the US only bans 30 toxic ingredients from personal care products. Download apps like Think Dirty or EWG (Environmental Working Group) to learn more about the ingredients in your makeup, bath, body, baby, and men’s personal care products. Be wary of anything including fragrance, as it can hide toxic ingredients that can be carcinogens and hormone disruptors. I love companies like Beautycounter, Phlur, and Native.
  4. Shop smarter: We can all take a page from Marie Kondo’s book and KonMari our *&%$ until all that is left is what truly “sparks joy.” And when we do choose to buy more, we should consider shopping from local businesses or companies that are certified Bcorps (they put sustainability, transparency, and social and environmental impact above all else).
  5. Detoxify your mind: I know Chris Harrison says this is the “MOST DRAMATIC SEASON YET,” but I literally feel my brain cells melting like the Wicked Witch of the West when I watch any new season of #bachelornation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a guilty pleasure, but consider something that will inspire you. Baking shows like The Great British Baking Show, design shows like Grand Designs, or ANYTHING on Masterpiece Classics on PBS will both entertain and enlighten you. Plus, they will give you the most peaceful serene feeling right before you go to bed.

What changes have you already made this new year? I’m always looking for new ideas to add to my list (aka my paper planner).

❤️ Natalie

Beauty Clean and Simple

Hi friends! Thanks for stopping by my little blog.

Each week, I’ll share tips and inspiration as I aspire to live a more beautiful, clean, and simple life.

Building a community of like-minded teachers, moms, and beautiful souls is what brings me the most joy of all. So follow me on Instagram, join my closed Facebook group, or follow along here to stay connected.

❤️ Natalie