Experiencing Yoga Through Our Seven Senses

Our after school yoga classes have been incredibly dynamic and engaging this term. In fact, we aim to engage all seven (yes, seven) of our body’s senses during our classes!

Many of us grew up learning that we have five senses, but did you know that our bodies actually have seven specialized systems that allow us to engage with our environment, take in new information, and make sense of the world around us?

The 7 Senses are:

1. Somatosensory System – sense of touch

2. Visual System – sense of sight

3. Auditory System – sense of hearing

4. Gustatory System – sense of taste

5. Olfactory System – sense of smell

6. Vestibular System – sense of balance

7. Proprioception System – sense of body position

The more sensorial experiences that our children are exposed to, the more refined each of their seven senses will become.  Recent research confirms what Maria Montessori concluded over a century ago – that many of our sensory systems must be engaged in order for cognitive learning to take place.

Here are some recent photos from both our Monday and Tuesday Yoga Clubs, with participants ranging in age from 2.5 to 8.  The photos were taken during our popular “stations” class.  Students visited nine different stations during the course of the class, engaging in yogic activities that included:

  • self-massage to engage the body’s somatosensory system
  • breathing techniques to assist with emotional self-regulation
  • balancing activities that engage the body’s vestibular system
  • observational movement activities to activate the body’s visual system, and
  • fine and gross motor activities to engage the body’s proprioceptive system.

For more information on this topic, I highly recommend the book “Smart Moves – Why Learning is Not All in Your Head” by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.  Here is a quote taken from the book, which summarizes the main overarching aim of my Children’s Yoga Classes:

“Learning first comes in through our senses.  As we explore and experience our material world, initial sensory patterns are laid down on elaborate nerve networks.  These initial sensory patterns become the core of our free form information system that is updated and becomes more elegant with each new, novel experience.  These initial sensory patterns become our reference points and give us the context for all learning, thought and creativity.  From this sensory base we will add emotions and movement in our life-long learning dance.”

A new term of yoga classes at Montessori By The Sea will begin in early January.  I hope to see your child on the mat!

~ Miss Sarah

Miss Sarah “Artichoke” Burton formerly taught in both our Casa and Lower Elementary classrooms at MBTS, and was the creator of our school’s composting program. She has over ten years experience working with children of all ages in both classroom settings and environmental education programs. Born and raised in Canada, she has called the Cayman Islands home for the past eight years.

Miss Sarah is certified to teach yoga to children ages 2 to 12, and is also a certified classroom teacher.  As an avid yoga practitioner for the past fifteen years, she is delighted to have the opportunity to share the countless benefits of yoga with children in Cayman.

Comments are closed.