Our previous post focused on the benefits of mindfulness that can apply to all areas of life. This does not just apply to adults or those old enough to seriously practice meditation. Today we will take a quick look at mindfulness in schools.
During a recent preschool tour, I was surprised to learn that yoga was a weekly special activity. For toddlers the practice is more about breathing than holding poses, but it is a great way to start.
Teachers and school administrators at all grade levels are beginning to see benefits of incorporating mindfulness practices, even in small amounts, into classrooms. Long-term effects are still being studied, but teachers report better focus, emotional regulation, compassion, and engagement after teaching their students mindfulness techniques. Teachers also personally benefited from the training and practice, feeling less stress and more job satisfaction.
We can learn from the teachers and students who are challenging old ideas of discipline and behavior modification. Several schools around Baltimore from elementary to high school are setting an example for diffusing student conflict and disruptions. These inner-city schools know their students are often dealing with extra outside stress making it difficult to concentrate in class. However, positive results are already emerging since these schools partnered with the Holistic Life Foundation.
Suspensions have decreased and academic performance has increased at Patterson High School after incorporating daily breathing exercises and meditations as well as offering a Mindful Moment Room. The Mindful Moment room is a calm environment available all day, offering more individual assistance. This can consist of discussion, breathing exercises, and/or yoga. The school is also introducing more classes with curricula based on yoga, meditation, breathing, tai-chi, centering, and other mindfulness techniques.
This program has garnered much media attention, from NBC Nightly News to The Washington Post and CNN, to name a few. It is helping expand interest in mindfulness in schools and inspire other teachers to try these techniques or create their own mindfulness spaces.
Right here at home, the Dallas Independent School District and Dallas Yoga Center have been collaborating on a mindfulness program. Instructors are teaching students to breathe slowly and meditate any time they need to calm down. Davis Elementary School in Carrollton has also incorporated breathing exercises, glitter jars, and breathing balls into classrooms when students need help regaining focus.
Have you joined our Mindful May Meditation Challenge? It’s not too late to join in and start reaping the benefits! All yoga classes will include a 5-minute meditation. We also have regularly scheduled 15-minute meditation classes. Participants with the most meditation minutes will win prizes. Enrollment is free!
For all our Urban Vybe families, we encourage you to find ways to share your own meditation and yoga practices with your loved ones. It will continue to benefit us all!