Good for the Bones: Yoga for Special Education Professionals
Working as a special education teacher can be both physically and emotionally challenging – repetitive motion and heavy lifting are required in many special education classrooms, and physical violence is a typical occurrence. On top of demanding workdays, the average salary of educators is low, and many have to work multiple jobs just to pay the bills. Public school educators therefore do not often have the extra funds to pay for much-needed self-care activities.
For these compelling reasons, we opted to fund 25 weeks of yoga classes for public school special education professionals working with students with moderate to severe disabilities in San Mateo County. Yoga is statistically proven to benefit the workplace – it is known to reduce employee turnover, promote alertness, and increase productivity. It also helps improve overall health by reducing back pain, insomnia, high blood pressure, and mental health issues. In short, it is a valuable self-care tool for special education professionals.
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation also supports teachers working with special needs students in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties through our Special Education Grant Program, and we were eager to support special education professionals in San Mateo County as well with this new grant.
These weekly yoga sessions affect the welfare of approximately 200 high needs students. So far, the sessions have focused on increasing flexibility, building strength, and reducing stress through mindfulness. After only seven weeks of sessions, teachers have shared that “the meditation feels good and helps the worries go away, “the class is very relaxing after a hard day at work,” and “it’s good for the bones.” Now that’s the kind of promising feedback we like to hear.