A report by the American Federation of Teachers (2017) recently made headlines with the finding that 61 percent, nearly two out of every three teachers, is often or always stressed out due to the demands of their profession. After three decades since the alarm was first sounded  the silent epidemic of stress among educators continues with no authentic or supportive response. Benson  demands that we move beyond well-intentioned conversations about teacher stress and care and insert more robust in-school support systems. The self-care revolution-actions to preserve or enhance one’s life, health, and well-being -has given rise to various stress relieving techniques, such as yoga, among educators . This truncated opinion article seeks to shed a little light on teacher stress and lobby for the growing trend of yoga in the teaching profession while articulating the implications of yoga therapy among PreK-12 educators.
Stress is defined as mental or emotional strain after an adverse life event. “Stress is the subjective experience of negative emotional states coupled with physiological activation that often produces uncomfortable physical sensations” . For teachers, stress is the result from occupational burnout  and personal traumas . The causes of teachers’ occupational stress are generally well known, such as: the demands of leadership and the school organization, burdens of the job, availability and access to resources, and social emotional competence of teachers and students . The overall impact of occupational teacher stress results in lower performance, poor health or lack of well-being, increased absenteeism, or higher turnover.
Relatedly, the indirect consequences of teacher stress are decreased student achievement, lower continuity for students and parents, and higher educational costs due to teacher attrition and training. Likewise, if a teacher is struggling with a personal stressor at home, that problem is likely to follow him or her into the classroom . The teacher withstands such private burdens as: death of loved ones, substance abuse, domestic violence, anger management issues, divorce, complexities in parenting and balancing family/home life, chronic illness, anxiety, burnout, depression caused by a lack of professional fulfillment, discrimination, financial pressures, and/or a combination of two or more of these difficulties.
Although this represents only a partial list of the hazards that can make teaching overwhelming, the message is clear: The demands on teachers as helping professionals is challenging and often difficult for reasons beyond their control. A stressful life, in and out of school, often affects how teachers support learners and manage their own self-care.
While there are many traditions of yoga [5,9] describe
yoga as a universal term that comprises “breathing techniques,
postures, strengthening exercises, and meditation”. In an effort
to address learning for the whole child, approaches for socially,
emotionally, and cognitively adept learners , a growing
movement to include yoga in schools has emerged. The yoga
curriculum in schools diverges from traditional or critical
subject matter in that it underscores a “light touch on others and
the world” ; the emphasis is on understanding self and one’s
internal connections to the environment. Scholars make the
natural connection between yoga and the increase in students’
socio-emotional grit; arguing that such activities improve their
focus and self-regulation . The chief outcomes of yoga for
PreK-16 learners are mind-body awareness, self-regulation, and
physical fitness. Over time, the long-term effects may lead to an
increase in more positive behaviors among learners, an upturn
in mood with an overall sense of well-being, improved cognitive
functioning, and growth in physical efficacy (Figure 1).
The discussion of yoga in schools has almost exclusively
focused on building students’ mindfulness and self-care.
However, teachers who work with students to develop their
socio-emotional competence may also benefit from yoga selfcare
techniques. Yoga programming that works well for PreK-12
learners can be equally advantageous for PreK-12 teachers for
managing occupational and personal stress. Reducing teachers’
stress levels may give them more energy, enhance their immune
system, and lower the risk of burnout and depression. Being
intentional about self-care through yoga makes educators
more resilient because it helps them remain unflappable when
school and personal crises arise. Yoga helps educators improve
classroom performance because they can focus better on
learners, have a high sense of efficacy, and distinguish between
the daily-ness of school bureaucracy from what really matters.
Overall, yoga as a self-care intervention allows teachers to recenter
in order to bounce back after stressful situations . Yoga
may help educators experience a greater sense of fulfillment,
and ultimately serve as a conduit to self-care in order to build
The repercussions of teacher stress are magnified because,
as helping professionals, educators are natural caregivers
and are required to give so much of themselves . Many
teachers, due to extreme pressures, often choose to leave the
profession; nearly thirty percent of all new teachers are gone by
year three and nearly fifty percent are gone by year five .
Additionally, teacher preparation programs are criticized for
focusing too much on knowledge development and not enough
on personal reflection of one’s self and larger purpose and how
to seek meaning in one’s life . . . However, neuroscience, learning
theory, and teaching experience all illustrate that the social
and emotional dimensions of learning are not only inextricably
linked to academic success, but are indeed at its very foundation
Social-emotional competence is equally as important as
cognitive astuteness in order for educators to perform well in
schools and classrooms . Emotional intelligence is one’s
ability to: perceive accurately; appraise and express emotion;
access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought;
and regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual
growth . “In addition to technical expertise, 21st century
teachers and teacher-leaders need a steady supply of passion,
heart, and inner resiliency to resist burnout and effectively
respond to the curricular, societal, and institutional conditions of
teaching” (Michalec, as cited in Dorman, 2015, p. 104). The more
emotionally astute the teacher, the greater the likelihood that he
or she is able to rebound from harsh personal circumstances and
become more effective in the classroom.
Powell & Kusuma-Powell  propose “that a high degree
of teacher emotional competence is a prerequisite in any highquality
classroom” (p. 6). How can educators inspire or lead
learners to be socio-emotionally competent if they have not
bought into, or utilize for themselves, self-care techniques?
Teachers must be leaders in self-development if any progress
is to be made among PreK-12 learners . Failure to find
mediating ways to support our teachers’ emotional sturdiness
may hinder the development of students’ socio-emotional
development; whole child learning tactics, such as yoga, might
be emulated by the teacher self-care movement .
Teachers encounter workplace and private ordeals that places
them at-risk for experiencing stress and burnout. Consequently,
teachers must engage in active attempts to effectively manage
the occupational and personal challenges through ongoing selfcare
efforts . Yoga has sound conceptual underpinnings and
growing empirical support for alleviating stress among PreK-
12 educators. Failure to find mediating ways to support our
teachers’ emotional sturdiness may further erode the teaching
population . Further, physical and mental wellness for
learners begins with physical and mental wellness for their
teachers. Quite simply-when our teachers are well, our students