News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Katy Hancock finds out how the Academy for Yoga Training is benefitting pupils’ wellbeing

The Bath-based Academy for Yoga Training has seen a significant increase in teachers turning to yoga to support the wellbeing of children in their schools since the Covid pandemic. 

When Covid forced the Academy to move some of its Yoga Teacher Training courses online, its client base shifted towards those seeking to train flexibly alongside their existing careers. But why is this Yoga Academy seeing such an increase in professionals who work with children?

With Covid restrictions easing and schools returning to a new post-pandemic normality, tackling the impact upon children’s mental health calls for urgent and innovative tactics. In a survey by the mental health charity Young Minds, (2,111 participants up to age 25) 83% said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. 

Young Minds also report that: 

  • 1 in 8 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly three children in every classroom 
  • 1 in 6 young people aged 16-24 has symptoms of a common mental disorder such as depression or an anxiety disorder

While these statistics may make for grim reading, some schools have taken their focus on feel good Fridays and mindfulness one step further, and are freeing up their staff to access flexible Yoga Teacher Training Courses.

Increasing numbers of schools are recognising the benefit of yoga for this pupils

One such school is Kingswood Secondary in Bath. Alongside her role as Assistant Head of Lower School, Nicola Curtis has been training at the Academy for Yoga Training since March. 

 “I don’t think we could have predicted how the pandemic was going to play out in relation to young people’s wellbeing. We knew everyone would be out of the habit of everyday busyness, but what we are now seeing is students are being caught out by the feeling of overwhelm and stress. I feel like they seem more out of their body and not connected to others around them.”

Nicola’s 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher online course is accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals and enabled her to train flexibly alongside her busy role at Kingswood.

Nicola Curtis of Kingswood School

“For so long I thought it would not be possible to train alongside a full-time job. This course has been a game changer for me! There is a real energy in the school at the moment as we are developing and growing our mental and physical wellbeing framework. I truly believe yoga and mindfulness are powerful tools when supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing. I want yoga to become embedded in the school and be a part of the Kingswood mental health toolkit.”

Diane Lee, owner of the Bath Yoga Studio, founded the Academy for Yoga Training to fulfil a demand for flexible, but accredited quality online Yoga Teacher Courses and to enable passionate Yogis to train alongside their existing careers. 

Diane Lee, founder of the Academy for Yoga Training

“We are delighted to have so many teachers on our courses; children have been through such a difficult year of forced change. Not only does yoga offer children a space to connect with their emotions, but it also reduces anxiety, boosts the immune system, circulation and oxygenation of the body, and stabilises the hormonal balance.

“When the pandemic hit, our academy transitioned from solely an in-person business to offering online courses within three weeks. Now our students come from all over the country and from all walks of life, but they all have a common desire to weave yoga into their professions. From teachers to therapists, police officers to nurses, our graduates go on to share the restorative power of yoga with their communities.”

Katie Malley, a recent graduate, used yoga initially to regain her mobility and confidence following a spinal-chord operation a few years ago. Since training, Katie has switched from her role as an Assistant Principal at a school in the North-West to becoming a Safeguarding & Therapeutic Education Consultant. 

“I decided to train to teach yoga as a way to support the children and adults I worked with, as well as to try and share the joy of yoga to others in my community who may not think yoga is for them.” 

Yoga provides benefits for pupils and teachers in a stressful environment

Katie now offers yoga sessions, workshops and classes to nurseries, schools and colleges in her area for both children and the professionals that care for them.

“Mental health support has never been more needed, particularly due to Covid 19 and all the extra stressors that lockdown brought.”

 “Schools and colleges can be extremely stressful environments to work in. Many teachers and school staff work long hours and are always giving their best to the children they work with. Yoga can provide teachers with a safe space to relax and nourish themselves.”

So, what’s it really like training alongside a full-time career? 

“I would highly recommend their 200-hour Hatha course if you work full time. There is no compromise on quality. If Diane had not offered this course, I might never have been able to become a qualified yoga teacher because of my busy work week. I’m so pleased I did this course, it’s one of my greatest achievements.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the academy and its flexible Yoga Teacher Training courses can visit its website here.