The RYE approach intersperses short, simple yoga techniques over the school day, which are integrated into the topic of learning. This helps improve pupils’ attitudes to learning and maximises their mindfulness, attention and memory. The RYE techniques can be integrated into many situations, curriculum topics, P.E. lessons, at home or as part of a yoga class. These techniques help to unify the body with the mind, and create harmony within the classroom amongst peers and the teacher.
The notion of developing the ‘whole child’ is paramount to the RYE approach. The plethora of government health policies, initiatives and publications during the last 20 years are clearly indicative of the growing concern in this area eg. Every Child Matters. We have found that practicing RYE techniques results in improved emotional and physical well-being in children and adults working alongside them. It teaches children to appreciate stillness through yoga practice and embraces their need for both rest and activity. Teachers who practise yoga for themselves have a clearer understanding of how to manage their energies better. They feel they are generally calmer, more centred and are better able to cope with the demands of the modern classroom.
RYE UK was established in 2005 and is based in London. We have successfully conducted the RYE UK Foundation Module in the UK, Ireland and Bulgaria. We have also run taster days. RYE UK’s trainers are yoga teachers and also have experience as school teachers.
RYE is a worldwide organisation (EURYE) with branches in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Uruguay, Portugal, Brazil. Every two years EURYE runs an international yoga seminar for a week. The next EURYE seminar will be in July 2017 in Italy. For more information see www.eurye.eu
The RYE Scale
The six steps of the RYE Scale have their roots in classical yoga and are the framework for all RYE teaching and learning. The first step is ‘Living Together’ and consists of practices and games eg. children sharing their names, which can be used at the beginning of a lesson, for every child to feel valued. The second step is ‘Spring Clean’, the idea of removing stiffness from the body and negative thoughts from the mind by using positive statements, which are good to use when preparing for tests or exams. The third step, ‘ Walk Tall’, involves the more traditional yoga postures which can be adapted to link to a particular topic eg. Romans in a History lesson. Children love to move their bodies and postures allow them to learn in a kinesthetic way. The fourth step is ‘Breathe Easy’ and helps to calm and focus the awareness. The fifth is ‘Just Relax’ and can be done with heads on desks or lying if space allows – using awareness or ‘mindfulness’ of body sensations, senses and breath to relax the mind. Finally, the sixth step is ‘Zoom In’. This is the point of concentration, which has been achieved through the previous steps. Simple stories linked to the topic can be imagined preparing the children for the task ahead eg. writing a story. The mind is now calm and focused, ready and receptive to learn.