Children at a village primary school have been exercising better, learning better and feeling better – thanks to an ancient Indian art.

Now High Hesket Church of England School is to become Cumbria's first officially accredited "Mini Me Yoga" school.

The yoga project has been led by three members of staff – teaching assistant Gemma Baird and teachers Jenny Blenkharn and Lisa McDermott.

Gemma explained that the simple yoga techniques – from poses to breathing exercises - helped the children's health, emotional wellbeing and learning.

She said: "There are lots of studies that show the benefits of yoga.

"It's got all the physical benefits – they are raising their heart rates and being active but it's not competitive, so they are working at their own pace.

"It helps them clear the brain, which helps them to retain information. That's vital in a school.

"And there's a lot of pressure on children nowadays. It's not so much stress, but they do have social and emotional anxieties, about friendships for instance.

"It helps them channel and process their emotions, and makes them happier and calmer.

"Before their SATs assessments year six pupils did some yoga focusing on their breathing to help them have stay calm."

Yoga forms part of PE lessons but there are also lunchtime and breaktime sessions and simple elements can be incorporated into other parts of the school day.

Gemma offered an example. "When you want the attention of the class you might clap your hands.

"Now we can use a yoga pose, of lifting your arms up and breathing in, then lowering them and exhaling."

She added: "The pupils absolutely love it. And we've had comments from parents, saying that the children are showing them how to do it and using the breathing techniques at home as well.

"Children are naturally open to it - they don't have as many inhibitions as older ones. I think it's something other schools could try."

The official accreditation will be marked on Monday, June 18 with a visit from the founders of Mine Me Yoga and the unveiling of a plaque.