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Program Design, Development, and Quality / Staff Leadership and Management

C.A.L.M.M Classroom Break – 5 Simple Chair Poses to Calm The Chaos

C.A.L.M.M Classroom Break – 5 Simple Chair Poses to Calm The Chaos

Educators, you know that moment when the energy in your classroom feels like utter chaos and you imagine yourself running out of the room and never looking back?! We’ve all had those moments when our students are distracted, dysregulated, and disconnected and it feels as if whatever you say is going in one ear and out the other. Most likely this is actually the case. When children’s nervous systems are dysregulated, their pre-frontal cortex can tend to be offline.

The prefrontal cortex is implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, attention, problem-solving, executive functioning, and moderating social behavior.

The truth is, we can ask our students to CALM DOWN and LISTEN until we’re blue in the face, but unless we address their nervous systems and support them in regulating their bodies and brains, they will continue to struggle with attending and learning.

What we also often forget is that we are the CO-REGULATORS of our student’s nervous systems. When we allow ourselves to become frazzled and frustrated by our student’s inner chaos, we are actually contributing to their dysregulation.

Integrating movement, visualization, and breath work in your classroom can be powerful tools in calming the chaos, or avoiding the chaos altogether. When we allow children frequent opportunities to connect to their bodies and breathe, they have more opportunity to release built-up energy in their bodies, build interoceptive awareness, and regulate their nervous systems.

“But I don’t have the time.”…I get it. I’ve heard this many times before. Educators have so many pressures beyond just teaching and often feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that’s on their multi-layered, multi-tasking plate. What if I told you that you could integrate yoga into your classroom without even asking your students to get out of their seats? What if I told you that if you simply integrated these 5 chair poses a few times a day, each day, you may begin to see a shift in your student’s attention and learning? What if I told you that if you practiced with the students each time you may begin to feel a shift in your own nervous system? The key is consistency. It’s not about the quantity of the practice but the consistency. Give it a try and watch your classroom turn from chaos to calm!

GROUNDING: When practicing chair poses, first begin by having your students ground their feet down on the floor. Bring awareness to the feet before each pose and encourage them to feel the connection of their feet to the earth.

If a child’s feet don’t reach the floor place a book or blocks under the feet so the feet are grounded.

5 Chair Poses to Calm the Classroom Chaos

Encourage breathing in through the nose. Breathe out through nose or mouth. Encourage noticing how the brain and body feels after each pose.

Open Book/Close Book


Sit tall in chair

Bring palms together

Think about your favorite book you like to read

Breathe in (through nose)

Spread arms wide with elbows bent (Open Book)

Breathe Out (through mouth)

Bring palms back together (Close Book)

Do 3 times

This pose opens the front body and supports focus and attention.

Butterfly to Cocoon

Clasp hands behind head with elbows spread wide like butterfly wings

Think of what color your butterfly is

Breathe in (through nose)

Spread elbows wide

Breathe out (through mouth)

Bring elbows towards each other like you’re curling back into your cocoon

Do 3 times

This pose opens the front body, stretches the back body, and supports calming the mind.

Apple Picking

Sit facing forward

Think of what color/kind of apple you want to pick

Breathe in (through nose)

Reach your right hand across your body

Pick your apple

Breathe out (through mouth)

Bring your apple back to the right side and drop your apple in your bucket (imagine)

Do 3 times on each side


This pose crosses the midline and supports the integration of the left & right hemispheres of the brain, whole-brain connection.

Orange Juice Squeeze

Think of something you want to squeeze out of your body (frustration, worry, etc.)

Breathe in

Stretch your right hand up high

Pick your orange

Breathe out

Squeeze your fist like you’re squeezing orange juice

Repeat on the left

Do 3 times on both sides


This pose supports bi-lateral coordination, provides proprioceptive feedback, and helps release stuck energy in the body.

Pizza Dough Ear Stretch

Think of stretching pizza dough

Take fingers to ear lobes and stretch down

Take fingers to middle of ears and stretch out

Take fingers to top of ears and stretch up

Pull and stretch ears all over like you’re stretching pizza dough

Close eyes

Breathe in (through nose)

Breathe out (through mouth)

Open eyes

Notice how your brain and body feels!

This pose is soothing to the nervous system and prepares students to have “listening ears.”

If you’d like more information please reach out directly to Shawnee here.

All images and poses are copyright from the ©C.A.L.M.M Yoga Toolkit. 

For breakfast, I had oatmeal with blueberries, raspberries, and toasted almonds 😊

Author: @yogabyshawnee

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