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"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. "

- Pablo Picasso, Spanish visual artist

Yoga at my school - The International School of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

By Sharda ten Hove on 25 June 2012

The International School of Amsterdam (ISA), an International Baccalaureate World School, challenges their students to discover themselves and the world they live in. Students from all over the globe learn about each other's cultures, which creates an ambience of mutual respect. At ISA, it is believed that a better world starts with better education.

I have had the privilege to practice yoga with ISA students aged 7 to 17. I strongly believe that yoga and meditation can help relax their minds and help them to feel happy in their body.

With the younger students, I did variations of the Sun Salutations, played yoga games on MC Yogi, they invented new yoga poses, learned about Chakras, Mandala’s and Auras. Classes revolved around learning to care for one another, to relax and to express themselves. Each week I also read a story pertaining to the life of the Buddha – which they were particularly enthusiastic about. Classes ended with Savasana (it was remarkable to see young, very energetic kids completely relaxed while enjoying a head massage).

With students aged 11 to 14, classes started with Yogalosophy (philosophy of yoga). We practiced yoga on uplifting music (they too loved MC Yogi), followed by Savasana with a head massage, and we finished with a short Guided Meditation.

For students between 15 and 17 yoga was more challenging since we practiced postures which demanded more of what some thought their bodies were capable of. It was great to see them evolve and go beyond their expectations. They as well enjoyed savasana with head massage at the end of class and with these students we stayed longer in meditation. Although for most letting go of their thoughts was a difficult task, they did experience another state of mind and the ambience after class was always very peaceful.

I am very grateful having been given the opportunity to practice yoga with these children and teenagers and I would love to see yoga and meditation become part of education at every school around the world.  In today’s fast-paced and competitive world we can’t start young enough to let children connect with a peaceful place within themselves and prepare them to live their full potential as brave, clear minded and heartful humans.

The International School of Amsterdam
Sportlaan 45
1180 AX, Amstelveen
Phone: +31 (0)20 347 11 11

About the author

Sharda ten Hove

Founder, Ethical Vegan, Yogi, Social Activist

Sharda was born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Descended from an Indian mother and Dutch father, she received a multi-cultural upbringing during which she gained a broad perspective on life.…  Read full bio