The Functional Minds Method of Classroom Management

I recently took some yoga teacher CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) in a wonderful course called “Mind and Meditation.” I can’t wait for my next kids yoga class to try this one communication tip using The Three Functional Aspects of the Mind.

I took the Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training with Krishna Kaur - a mentor in Yoga for Youth

The Three Functional Minds can become a lesson plan in your kids yoga classes. For now, here’s a recap of the functional minds and then see how you can use them for classroom management.

The Negative Mind functions to help you identify obstacles and potential dangers. It is negative because it examines the reasons NOT to do something; it is not negative in terms of bad.  You utilize the negative mind when you see danger on your path or when you avoid something to protect yourself.

classroom management kids yoga teacher training
Kids listening to the rules of the game - The Negative Mind functions to help them wait.

The Positive Mind sees the opportunities and possibilities.  It is positive like a green light, meaning go!  The positive mind is not always right or good, but functions to explore why you would say yes to something. Your positive mind will see the advantages of following up with a good contact or idea.

Kids are ready to go in the Kids Yoga Teacher Training
The kids begin the game! The Positive Mind functions to enjoy the activity.

The mind usually starts its cycle with Negative then goes to Positive. Then the third Functional Aspect of the Mind, the Neutral Mind, kicks into action.

The Neutral Mind weighs in to clarify the directions given by the Positive and Negative Minds. It does the cost/benefit analysis.  Sometimes the Neutral Mind puts things in perspective by remembering the big picture. Sometimes you get insight that it doesn’t really matter if you choose the chocolate brownie or the key lime pie as long as you eat dessert in moderation.

You know a Neutral Mind statement because it is true now and will remain true 100 years from now.

Kids Yoga Teacher Training Activity
The kids try another part of the yoga class lesson plan. The Neutral Mind helps them balance the obstacles and the opportunities.

How can the Three Functional Minds help classroom management?

When you are teaching, use not just negative and/or positive mind statements, nor give only Neutral Mind advice. For classroom management try giving all three statements.

Here’s an example for when a class is getting rowdy and needs some calming down:

Negative Mind Classroom Management:  Slow down because someone might get hurt.

Positive Mind Classroom Management: Move in slow motion for fun.

Three Functional Aspects Classroom Management:

Slow down because someone might get hurt. (Negative) Let’s move in slow motion for fun. (Positive) Yoga requires balance.  (neutral)

How does saying all three sound different than just one function to you?

You won’t need to do all three every time you have a rowdy class, but consider the three Functional Aspects of the Minds for those tough times when you really want to emphasize the class rules.

According to these Yogic teachings, your students will naturally be drawn to look at all three functions of the mind anyway.  Giving one can be effective but when you just give one, the kids may come back with the other functions that were not given.

Share your thoughts and comments:

Does anyone have a tough or successful classroom management example they’re willing to share?

Can you come up with an example of how to use the Three Functional Aspects of the Mind in classroom management if someone doesn’t want to participate?

What is your favorite classroom management tip or resource?

Upcoming Events:

Kundalini Yoga Summer Experience 2013

Live Music with Shantdeep Kaur at the Kundalini Yoga Retreat for Adults

Friday August 16 – Sunday August 18

The Gathering Space – Trent University
Peterborough, Ontario

The early registration rate for this 3 day retreat for adults ends Sunday.  See the full details here. On-line registration is now open to join us for a weekend of continuing education or personal growth.  The retreat is open to all.


What I See, I Can Be Certificate – Kids Yoga Teacher Training Weekend

Saturday & Sunday, September 21 – 22

What I See, I Can Be Certificate in Kids Yoga Teacher Training

This module includes the “What I See, I Can Be” kid’s yoga resources and how to use them effectively and creatively. Taught by a certified Primary/Junior School Teacher (B.Ed) and Yoga Instructor (RCYT), you’ll find out what really works and what doesn’t. Build your confidence teaching in the gym, classroom, yoga studio and home.

This is the first of 6 Certificates in Kids Yoga Teacher Training that will give you the full Yoga Alliance 95 Hour Certification.  Early Registration now Open!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *