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YogoJo Foundation – new mental and physical health, and performance improvement yoga-based resources for children and teenagers, their families and schools.
The YogoJo Foundation looks for ways to help children focus their attention, develop a self-discipline, have better relationships with friends and loved ones, perform better at school and sport, and become more positive about each day.
Together with your support we can help kids and teens achieve that through simple and easy to follow yoga-based activities and experience. They can learn how to manage stress and its impact on mental and physical health. Through yoga-based physical exercises and postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques they can develop self-regulatory skills that are known to correlate with improved academic, sport performance and most important wellbeing and happiness.
The YogoJo Foundation provides early interventions to help prevent problems caused by unmanaged stress becoming chronic and lifelong.
According to the UNICEFs flagship report The State of Worlds Children 2021 children and young people across 21 countries could feel the impact of the pandemic on their mental health and well-being for many years to come. More than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10-19 are estimated to live with a diagnosed mental health disorder globally. Diagnosed mental health disorders including ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, depression, eating disorders, can harm children and young peoples health, education, relationships, and prospects for the future. According to the World Health Organisation the cumulative global economic loss due to mental health conditions is estimated to be $16 trillion between 2012-2030.
The YogoJo Foundation provides health, wellbeing, and performance related learning experiences for children at home and in school. These fun activities aim to offer children and young people empowering strategies and learning opportunities focused on how to look after themselves and manage stress while they are waiting to access NHS mental health services. As they grow older, they will be able to use those strategies to help them avoid consequences of cumulated stress.
We are also working with a network of collaborations with professionals, educators, yoga teachers, healthcare professionals, academics, schoolteachers, and scientists to share scientific evidence, research and knowledge about how yoga-based practices may help manage a range of common problems affecting children and young people such as anxiety, self-esteem, difficulty with learning and concentration, exceptional needs, tensions, pains, skin problems, allergies, immunity, sleep and eating changes, fitness, endurance, addictive behaviours, and low moods.
One Breath One Movement
We continuously develop new, multidimensional yoga-based resources for primary and secondary school children and teenagers as well as those who attend special schools, and their families. Our series of online video tutorials (pre-recorded and live) for children and adolescents as well as their parents and teachers do not require any skills to perform proposed practices. Short videos offer children and young people an environment with which they feel very comfortable. Most of them watch YouTube or TikTok videos to learn how to cook or acquire other skills. Also, months spent on online learning from home during the pandemic made children very familiar with this form of interaction.
The video tutorials vary in length to make their use very flexible and to create an opportunity for every child to develop new positive habits and introduce them in different situations both at home and in school.
Teachers and school staff can use the shortest tutorials at the beginning of lessons to help children focus their attention during lessons, or longer ones as whole lessons to introduce such activities as mindful movement.
They can find for instance 5 mins breathing exercises to improve concentration as well longer sessions with ideas to use during a school assembly, PE or PSHE classes, or as part of activities during breakfast or after-school sessions.
Our resources offer access to the most recent evidence-based scientific research in the form of engaging, brief articles, tip sheets, interviews with celebrities and experts, as well as publications written by experts and practitioners for parents and teachers.
The Pitch Ready is based on the recommendations from the Activate which is the RFU’s Injury Prevention Exercise Programme. We combined physical movements with yoga-based breathing and relaxation techniques to offer children and teenagers an opportunity to prepare their body for the match. The modules aim at reducing risk of injury and concussion as well as developing strength and good form.
Through focus and concentration as well as learning how to control their movements during the exercises young players become more agile, flexible and strong that as a result improves their performance and discipline on the pitch. The Pitch Ready consists of 5 modules. One of them is to be practiced during the training sessions and the remaining four in between the training sessions. They focus on qualities and certain body parts. We address balance, hips mobility, core strength and resilience of shoulders. It is important that all recommended practices are performed in a mindful manner to achieve best results.
Day 1 - Module 1 Prepare (Training Session)
We recommend you practice this module at the start of each training session with your team. It is designed to be practiced primarily outdoors with a minimum contact with the surface. It prepares your body for a match and helps control and coordinate the movements in order to improve performance.
Day 2 – Module 2 Core (Self Practice)
This module aims at strengthening your core muscles and create good form. You can practice it either at home or outdoors. Activities that we recommend in this module you can practice on your own in between your training sessions. They have been designed to allow you to develop over time.
Day 3 – Module 3 Balance (Self Practice)
Practices we recommend in this module may help you improve the ability to control movements, remain focused and develop over time. Best if you practice them in between training sessions to sustain your efforts and keep your body and mind engaged. We recommend it is practiced either indoors and outdoors.
Day 4 – Module 4 Hips (Self Practice)
It is one of four modules recommended for kids and teens to practice at home between training sessions. It aims at increasing your flexibility in the hips and generally improving performance. We recommend it is practiced either indoors or outdoors. It has been designed to also allow you develop over time.
Day 5 – Module 5 Shoulders (Self Practice)
The Shoulders Module focuses on strengthening shoulder muscles to increase power of young rugby players. As the other four self-practice modules it should be practiced either indoor or outdoor between training sessions. A regular practice of movements in this module will help you develop over time.
Health and Cultural Exchange to Little Cove in Nashik (India)
During this life changing adventure school pupils have an opportunity to:
•Learn about foundations of yoga and prepare to practice physical asanas, meditation and breathing to embrace balance on physical and mental levels,
•Understand the benefits of traditional Indian practices for health and well-being and gain knowledge how to support their own health,
•Improve their own well-being,
•Experience Indian lifestyle and culture.
The Health and Cultural Exchange allows participating student learn habits for life that will help them thrive in a difficult world where mental health challenges are rife. Through the practice of effective short yoga flows they may develop abilities to focus, manage their emotions, manage impulses, act with compassion, and improve their physical and mental health.
The programme of stay consists of:
•Morning yoga sessions including meditation, breathing and relaxation practices
•Visit to Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple and Kalaram Temple
•Trip to Pandavleni Caves
•Visit to local state and international schools
During the Exchange the students stay at the Little Cove Yoga Retreat. It is located by the Gangapur Dam and is surrounded by breath-taking, evergreen farming fields rich with grapes and vegetables. The nearest town is Nashik also known as the grape capital of India.
The Little Cove Retreat offers accommodation in beautiful, wooden, handcrafted, and authentic cottages. There is a private swimming pool at the resort. Each cottage has a bathroom with hot and cold water. There is WiFi and Internet connection at the resort. Each room is equipped with a TV and kettle. Address: Little Cove Yoga Ayurveda Resort, Nagalwadi, Girnare, Nashik, Maharashtra, India
In advance of visiting India the students take part in research activities aiming at deepening their knowledge about topics that affect young people these days, including:
- stress regulation (that is most important for relationships, interpersonal interactions and communication).
- physical and mental health and related specific topics like use of social media, addictions, obesity, low moods and anxiety.
- performance in school.
They research those topics and prepare short essays with their findings and solutions. Subsequently during joint zoom sessions, they exchange their findings and observations and try to rank solutions in accordance with their importance and availability of practical solutions.
We will continue offering tools and techniques that parents, and teachers can use with children and pupils at home and in the classroom. The practices recommended in our resources are not intended to replace any medical treatments and the YogoJo Foundation strongly advocates seeking the advice of a GP, or other medical professional if there are any concerns about a child or adolescent’s mental or physical health needs.
We have grouped our recommendations into 12 thematic modules that represent the 12 most common conditions that children and adolescents suffer from and where there is a significant body of scientific evidence that yoga-based practice may help prevent those conditions become lifelong. The modules are facilitated by renowned experts and link with globally recognised international celebrations such as World Mental Health Day, and International Day of Education, to name a few, to reflect on a global dimension to problems that affect children and young people. All this to give a sense of community and create an excellent opportunity for participants to link with other pupils and schools nationally and internationally to work on joint school projects.
We are looking to deploy measures to provide evidence of any changes in the mental and physical health of those who use our resources. These will include widely used standardised qualitative and quantitative measures used by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families to demonstrate that yoga is able to help children and young people manage and reduce their own stress through modulation of the sympathetic nervous system (that is involved in the stress response) and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal system (the output of which is the stress hormone, cortisol). The results will be shared with research and academic centres, the media and appropriate government departments, school administrators, and their stakeholders. It is hoped that this could provide much needed information about the benefits of practicing yoga by children and teenagers, encourage the wider use of such practices at home and in schools, and possibly lead to social prescribing to address some of the mental and physical health needs in children and adolescents resulting from unmanaged stress.