By Faye Martins
In Yoga classes, our teachers trained us to mentally and physically live in the moment. To live in the moment is mindfulness in its pure form. Yogic mindfulness in our public schools will increase student achievements.
The old proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child may be cliché, but the issue remains as relevant in the suburb as it is the rural village. Driven by the pressure to achieve and isolated by electronic gadgets, young people face far different challenges than those of past generations.
The question of how to raise a child to live in a competitive world while maintaining a sense of connection to others and the world around him is a challenge for parents and teachers. Most systems of education are based upon a one-size-fits-all model, and children who fail to fit the mold face additional hurdles.
While they have their advantages, state-mandated tests often detract from teachers’ abilities to use teachable moments in creative ways that reach non-linear learners. With programs like physical education and the arts facing budget cuts, it becomes even more important to find alternative ways of meeting kids’ needs.
Activities like ballet or soccer, in spite of their benefits, often create their own achievement-based hierarchies. Bullying, made even worse by its public display in the social media, becomes a problem for students who feel insignificant or unsuccessful; and families who lack resources outside the system often have little help.
To counteract these problems, some school systems are embracing ancient traditions that prepare students to face life’s hurdles. One of these organizations has already taught concentration, conflict resolution, and empathy to more than 11,000 students. Although they train other adults, parents and teachers may want to form classes or volunteer groups to introduce their own programs.
Yoga, another way to teach the art of being present in the moment, is also reaching out to young people by teaching them coordination, awareness, and self-control in a non-competitive environment. While self-esteem and confidence benefit all practitioners, those lessons can be lifesavers for students experiencing social or academic rejection.
An added bonus is that students who learn how to quiet their minds in the face of pressure or adversity also perform more effectively on tests, in sports, and in social situations. They are less prone to angry outbursts and more resilient to change and peer pressure.
According to well-documented research, compassion and empathy are the emotions that create happiness and build peace. A recent article in “Scientific American” says those same qualities are declining among today’s young people. Now is the time for parents and schools to take an active role in their children’s happiness and the world’s future. The cost of bringing yoga into the classroom is minimal; the results are priceless.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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