Each day, three groups of mostly ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students—many with no yoga experience—end their instructional day with a one-hour yoga class with ESOL teacher Kristine Hart. A part-time yoga instructor as well as an academic-year ESOL teacher, Kristine is combining the two fields to maximize the value her students get from their time on the mat.In addition to its wellness benefits, the Yoga and Movement class provides a unique opportunity for the students to practice language skills like listening comprehension, following instructions, and building vocabulary. Moreover, Kristine implements yoga’s meditative aspects to give students tools to battle the challenges of everyday life.
“I hope that they can use [the things we learn] in their daily lives, so that when they’re stressed out they can remember what we did in class and practice one of the breathing techniques,” Kristine said.
She recalled seeing one of her students, who was nervous before taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), calming herself by using Alternate Nostril Breathing—one of the exercises she taught the students.
Kristine prepared a beginner’s Heart Opening sequence for Ross News readers. To practice the sequence at home, grab a mat and follow the flow listed below.
Beginners’ Heart Opening Sequence Click the links below for additional pose instructions.
- Begin in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with hands atop the knees, palms facing up. Activate Ocean Breath (Ujjayi) and continue for several rounds, setting an intention for your practice.
- On an inhale, raise your arms overhead. On an exhale, twist from your waist, lowering your opposite hand to the opposite knee. Move through five rounds of Twisting Easy Pose (Parivritta Sukhasana) to the rhythm of your own breath.
- Coming to hands and knees, move through several rounds of Cat/Cow (Marjayasana/Bitilasana) to warm up your spine. Return to tabletop upon completion.
- From a neutral tabletop, lift your knees and press hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Hold for five breaths.
- Come to standing and move through one round of Sun Salutation C (Surya Namaskar C) on each side of the body.
- Come into Crescent Pose (Ashta Chandrasana). Hold for three breaths.
- From Crescent, move into Revolved Half Moon (Parivrtta Ashta Chandrasana). Hold for three breaths, and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Return to Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Hold for five breaths.
- To practice balance, come into Tree Pose (Tadasana). Hold for three breaths and repeat on the other side.
- Hinge at the waist, coming into Wide Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana C). Hold for several breaths before returning to standing.
- Rest briefly in Child’s Pose (Balasana).
- Lie on your back with both feet planted on the ground. Move through three rounds of Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), holding each one for five breaths.
- Come into Corpse Pose (Savasana) by lying on your back with arms and legs extended. Rest for five minutes to complete your practice.