"I like it because the day starts off with relaxing, starts off with peace". Adam, aged 7
Yoga and meditation are integrated into the curriculum to support and develop mental, physical and spiritual health. This enables each child and member of staff to expand and deepen self-awareness, learning about themselves and learning to connect with their reason, sensitivity and instincts (1). Since both teachers and students practice together it creates a common area of endeavour and discovery. It also enhances the teacher-student relationship as both parties are sensitive to each others’ time and space to think, reflect and express themselves. It allows both parties to conduct teaching and learning in the present, their minds meeting in the here and now.
Yoga and conscious movement
By this we mean any movement that unifies consciousness of body, breathing, emotions and the mind. This could be in the shape of yoga exercises, tai chi, qi gong, dance, running, walking or a myriad of other possibilities. The aim is to develop an awareness of mind and body as a unified whole where the brain is not separate from the rest of the organism and all of our being is engaged in learning.
Yoga helps to keep students physically and mentally fit, flexible of mind and body, and sensitive to their thoughts and feelings. It increases self-esteem and makes it easier to relate to others, thereby enhancing meaningful positive communication. Through relaxing the body and focusing the mind it helps create an optimum condition for learning.
'What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us, and when you bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.' Henry David Thoreau
Being in peace with yourself, in the here and now is the optimum condition for learning. Your mind is clear and awake to what is going on around you and you are able to engage wholeheartedly. Obstacles to learning disappear as mental and emotional blocks are surmounted and students experience the enrichment of learning in the here and now.
Meditation, as conscious imagination, is a powerful tool for any problem-solving. Just five minutes reflection before beginning a piece of work whether creative, analytical or mathematical can make an enormous difference to the success of the task. It taps into our huge reserves of knowledge, insight and memory, thus empowering us to perceive ourselves as creators and problem solvers. (2)
*Our meditation and yoga practice are non-religious. The aim is for each child to connect with their own thoughts, feelings and imagination, learning how to reach their own conclusions and to think independently.