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admin | reflection of the past meaning | 01.03.2015
A couple of days ago, the Guardian asked for input from readers about what they think needs to change in education, given that it’s likely to be a key battleground for the 2015 election. This jogged my memory back to an article I read earlier in the year about rough schools in San Francisco implementing a project called ‘Quiet Time’, where the kids would meditate twice a day. It can be and often is a completely secular practice, and one that can improve confidence and self-esteem, as well as reduce anxiety and stress. It’s not just in California that these ideas are beginning to gain some momentum; 13 states across the country are implementing similar projects. Check out this cool infographic, made by the people at Edutopia, illustrating the benefits meditation has brought to US schools. Silence isn't something people usually associate with middle school, but twice a day the halls of Visitacion Valley School in San Francisco fall quiet as the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students meditate for fifteen minutes. And school administrators tell NBC News that the violence outside of the school, which is situated in one of San Francisco's poorest neighborhoods, was spilling into the school and affecting the students' demeanor. Instead, he decided to extend the school day by 30 minutes for meditation time, which resulted in better academic performance and a 75 percent decrease in suspensions. Students at Visitacion Valley School in San Francisco meditate, as part of a program in which students meditate for fifteen minutes twice a day.
We offer an ever growing range of mediation products and accessories to help you get the most out of every sitting. I bought this pillow out of desperation, having had migraines forever and having tried most 'fixes'. I love my meditation cushion and mat, they are so comfortable and have really enhanced my meditation practice. Recent Posts These Health Benefits Of Tea Will Make You Drink More Tea Paul Hinton 08-Mar-20163 Ways Meditation Can Help You Sleep Better Paul Hinton 26-Feb-2016Boost Your Mood and Health With These Refreshing Herbal Teas! For seventeen years years, I have been teaching mathematics to high school students in Australia and the US. I have also been fortunate to introduce another of my great passions into the classroom, and that’s meditation.
Introducing students to meditation for the first time can be challenging, but if you stick with it, the rewards are worth it. I’ve been fortunate to work with educators from around the world, helping them introduce meditation into the classroom. Building anticipation about how much this can change their lives is key to securing their buy- in. My experience has shown me that persistence overcomes the objections and challenges and dramatically improves class atmosphere. Laurie Carroll is an educational consultant, professional certified life coach, and inspirational speaker and writer.
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A fidgety girl in the front row strained to keep her eyes closed when soft instrumental music began playing through portable speakers.
Star of the school’s athletics team, Heena Tahiliani, was only eager to share the positive effects of morning meditation sessions. I suddenly had more time for everything and a lot more energy to balance my training and studies. Abhinav Sharma, a proponent of meditation through Sahaja Yoga, has been pitching its effectiveness to schools across the UAE for months. After eight years of practicing yoga with his family, 14-year-old Abhay Anand’s daily routine includes meditation sessions per day. Sidharth Lalwani, new to the entire process, commented on the unexpected physical changes 15 minutes of meditation can bring. The science behind this form of meditation suggests that various core points in the body known as ‘chakras’ are activated by focusing on the present and avoiding mental distractions.
This style of meditative yoga has been adopted in more than 100 countries around the world, with studies conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, claiming that meditation effectively lowers levels of teen depression, aggression, and stress.
The UAE faction of Sahaja Yoga is made up of working professionals holding down day jobs, who still see merit in setting aside their mornings to guide children through daily affirmations. Sharma and his team have held one-off meditation sessions at other institutions as well, including local girls’ school, Anisa Al Ansariya School, and sessions for the staff at Rashid Hospital. Meditation can be an effective form of stress reduction and has the potential to improve quality of life and decrease health care costs. If you have little or no experience with meditation, "Our Online Meditation Course" will get you up and started quickly and easily. Adam Moskowitz, a Headstand teacher, agreed that the practice can be difficult for some kids: “At their age—and in this age—the last thing some of them want to do is sit, with nothing to look at or play,” he says, “In some ways, despite its great challenge, mindfulness is a very simple, repetitive practice. This school year, Headstand partnered with the University of California San Francisco to provide more concrete data of the program’s effectiveness. The Deputy National-Security Adviser speaks about the United States’ new ties with Cuba and its impact on American foreign policy. Thursday night’s debate pitted a front-runner offering attractive generalities against a field serving up unpopular specifics.
For months, Republican insiders have watched Donald Trump’s rise with mounting horror. The Republican frontrunner made it through just four more sentences before the next one stood up. Who is this Barack Obama, where does he fit into the traditional matrix of American thought on foreign policy: realism vs. In order for Romney and Kasich’s wish to come true, it would mean that no candidates received the necessary 1,237 delegates.
The title of Jeffery Goldberg’s very fine essay notwithstanding, there is no Obama Doctrine.
A new multi-media project explores black mixed identity through the lens of the history of America’s racial classification. The first response from Camila Batmanghelidjh, a psychotherapist and founder of Kids Company, struck me.
There are many aspects of education that are clearly in need of serious reform, and as such the discourse surrounding schools tends to focus on these issues; the nature of assessment, teaching methods, the curriculum, and so on.
In Quiet Time’s first year, suspension rates dropped by 45%, and within four years it was one of the lowest in the city. Thankfully, as knowledge of this is spreading, we’re gradually coming around to the idea that meditation can be a worthwhile exercise that doesn’t have to have anything to do with hippies, drugs, or even the broader ideas of religion and spirituality.
Moreover, it can lead to increased focus and concentration, doing wonders for kids’ ability to learn as well as the teacher’s ability to teach. Moreover, The Guardian featured ‘Mindfulness and the Art of Chocolate Eating’, a popular technique introduced to schools by an organization called ‘Mind Space’, on their top teaching resources list for 2013.
There are wider systemic problems that need to be addressed irrespective of how many kids or teachers are meditating. But he changed his tune, when over a four-year period, suspensions decreased by 79 percent and attendance and academic performance noticeably increased.
Principal Bill Kappenhagen was skeptical at first, as well, and had to wrangle with the problem of when in the school day to grab a half hour for quiet reflection.
I had recently been waking up with a headache every morning so I thought I had nothing to lose by trying a buckwheat pillow. It was very considerate to provide a carry bag with the cushion; it was a gesture that was much appreciated. I have always loved teaching, and mathematics has been a passion of mine since High School.

You might be surprised at the success I’ve experienced bringing this right-brain activity into the decidedly left-brain context of mathematics.
I ask them, “How would you like to come to my class and do nothing…every day this year?” Needless to say, I’ve captured their attention. Clear consistent guidelines are essential to prevent your first meditation from being a disaster. It is important for students (and you) to acknowledge that meditation reveals a unique experience for each of us and no two meditations are alike. You can pay attention to your own mood swings through the day and track how meditation is affecting your teaching. In a day and age when our mental health is being compromised through entertainment and over-stimulation, meditation is arguably the greatest tool an educator, parent, or mentor can use with themselves and their students. You can learn more about Laurie’s work with teens on his website and you can invite him to speak or lead workshops by contacting him here. Start meditating today and release the source of your stress with these proven meditation techniques. The warm or cool air they feel is a reflection of their state of mind, according to practitioners. Psychologists might attribute that to a kind of placebo effect, but in Abu Dhabi-based psychologist, Dr Mehnaz Koory’s opinion, the end justifies the means. Currently two schools in the UAE have engaged the group for their extracurricular meditation training: Delhi Private School Sharjah and Millennium School Dubai. Meditation involves achieving a state of 'thoughtless awareness' in which the excessive stress producing activity of the mind is neutralized without reducing alertness and effectiveness. Celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Goldie Hawn, businessmen like Bill George of Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil, and News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, have publicly discussed practicing it. It’s not always easy convincing kids that they’re learning something by doing the same, simple thing again and again.”I emailed my former students who took Headstand’s classes in middle school to ask them about their impressions of the program. However, Ghannam also accepts that her classes, as in Michael’s case, may not necessarily show immediate results. On question after question, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio offered specifics, while Trump served up vague generalities and promised to make better deals. At least 18 times during Trump’s speech, police came and plucked people out of the crowd, each time creating a large disturbance. The convention in Cleveland would require several rounds of voting, with a majority of delegates eventually free to vote for any candidate.
It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. She noted that some children are so disadvantaged that it affects their brain functioning to such a degree that they struggle to sit still and stay calm in school, never mind pass exams. But as a result, we often neglect a more fundamental issue and one that is surely of equal importance. Now before you make an assumption about those Frisco hipsters and what might seem to be some sort of nostalgic throwback to the halcyon days of flower power and the counterculture, just hear me out. Perhaps most significantly, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters were the happiest in all of San Francisco. A theme throughout Guardian responses was the need to attract and keep hold of the best teachers and head teachers.
Mind Space’s ‘Meditation in Schools Program’ has been introducing meditation for teachers and students across the UK. This is not a call to side step these very important issues however, rather it’s a reminder that by getting caught up in arguments that are so often tied up with ideology and political one-upmanship, we can forget the more fundamental stuff. He or she will help you cut through the confusion of ideas and sort out which of the numerous styles of meditation is right for you.
I am armed with my data and ready to preach about how meditation supports better thinking, reduces stress, improves health, and creates peaceful classrooms. Imagine closing your eyes in front of thirty teenagers and expecting them to instantly do the same. To help transition from meditation to the lesson plan, I may go around the room and ask each student to describe how they feel in one word. Information like the number of student referrals (not good), the classroom tone, and test results will help you gain confidence in the positive impact meditation has on students. Whether you want to relax, stimulate creativity, gain enlightenment, or cultivate compassion and mindfulness, we help you learn how to let go. By introducing 10 to 15 minutes of mindful silence into the lives of children, we hope to awaken their positive energy,” he told Khaleej Times.
Then when (the instructor) asked me to raise my hand, I felt hot air rise from the top of my head. Each chakra is said to represent different parts of the body and mind, and addressing the way these points feel after the meditative sessions reportedly help practitioners better streamline their lives.
Techies and others in the corporate world have begun using mindfulness, a type of meditation, to combat the stress and overstimulation of their jobs. She is more concerned with building consistency and normalizing the practice for students over time.“It’s the same as a student who may not love math class and may just be going through the motions at first.
In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K.
Unsurprisingly the school suffered greatly from disciplinary problems; fighting, shouting, vandalism, low attendance and so on, all of which contributed to its poor academic performance while creating an environment counterproductive to learning. De-stressing the school environment would make it a lot easier for teachers to do their jobs, and develop professionally. Kids and teachers are human beings – their ability to learn, share and engage, is dependent on their emotional wellbeing, and so its something that should form a more serious part of the debate. To complicate this already complex equation, most people already have confusing ideas and beliefs about what meditation is and how it works. When introducing meditation for children, these simple steps are not so much rules to follow as much as contemplations to consider and shape to your situation. I might pause if I suspect someone is confused or upset and simply ask him or her to say more.
In fact, you can argue that meditation is something you are always doing, and the practice of meditation is simply getting in touch with that fact!
Examples of adjustments I have made include: turning lights off, remaining silent for longer periods of time, reducing the debriefing time, changing student seating arrangements, keeping the board clear of notes.
With meditation, you feel calm while you’re doing it and stay energised throughout the day,” Heena’s classmate, Jesika Agarwala added. Setting aside vague philosophical terms, Sharma added that the benefits of meditation on young impressionable minds have been recorded the world over.
Everyone could take a page out of these kids’ book and use a small window of time during the day to disconnect with their schedules and deadlines,” she said. Even the Marines have used it to “improve mental performance under the stress and strain from war.”At the same time, more and more studies are showing direct links between meditation and health benefits. There wasn’t a lot of movement going on, so it reminded me of a ‘time out,’ like a punishment. Over time, as long as they’re practicing with a great teacher, something is going to click and hopefully more meaning is taken on.”Practicing mindfulness now at 26, I wish I had more exposure to the practice as a student and as a teacher.
Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. On the California Achievement Test, twice as many pupils in Quiet Time schools became proficient in English, compared with similar schools without the program, and the gap in maths abilities was even greater. Studies in the United States have also demonstrated that training teachers in mindfulness meditation can reduce their levels of stress and increase organisation and compassion.

I guess I'll get used to it - I must say I find it quite uncomfortable compared to a regular pillow, but it's a small price to pay to not have daily migraines!
You don’t have to go far these days to find respectable sources praising the virtues of meditation: Time Magazine and Harvard University to name two.
A study led by researchers at John Hopkins found that just eight weeks of meditation training was as effective as medication in treating depression, anxiety, and pain. I wonder whether my moment for it to “click” would have happened earlier if I had persistent classes showing me why it matters.
A few years back David Lynch made an excellent documentary about his project to introduce transcendental meditation into an elementary school in Iowa, the results of which were also pretty transformative.
Teachers and administrators, she adds, see it as a tool that also can boost school performance."Schools are absolutely paying attention to the benefits of mindfulness," says Lorraine Hobbs, the director of youth and family programs at UC San Diego's School of Medicine and Center for Mindfulness.
Meditation can bring discipline into their lives by helping them learn how to channel their energy to the present. At Harvard, scientists using neuro-imaging technology showed how meditation positively affected the brain activity of the chronically stressed, a condition that the Benson-Henry Institute reports is related to more than 60 percent of all doctor’s visits. Schools have also begun experimenting with the practice and discovering that its techniques can help its students. In one lesson plan, students brainstorm what they generally associate with the word “slow” and discuss why the word’s connotation is generally negative. And I wondered if practicing mindfulness as a teacher would have made me more relaxed and happy, and thus more effective.
We are all guilty of spending most of our time dwelling in the past or planning for the future. When a school in New Haven, Connecticut, required yoga and meditation classes three times a week for its incoming freshman, studies found that after each class, students had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their bodies.
Then, they do a yoga sequence paced slowly and quickly at different times, and discuss how moving at each pace affected the tone of the room, and their own frame of mind.
In San Francisco, schools that participated in Quiet Time, a Transcendental Meditation program, had twice as many students score proficient in English on the California Achievement Test than in similar schools where the program didn’t exist. They brainstorm situations when acting slowly may be better than acting too quickly, like during an argument or when overwhelmed on a test. And maybe it's as simple as remembering to breathe."Hobbs says it's important for the adults in a school to develop a mindfulness practice. Visitacion Valley Middle School specifically reduced suspensions by 45 percent during the program’s first year. While teaching, I was always concerned with “doing,” making sure my students and I constantly worked towards the goals we wanted to achieve.
All students could benefit from learning these things early but with students whose backgrounds at times already place them at a disadvantage, these kinds of programs become even more justified.
Attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, grade point averages improved, and the school recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco on the annual California Healthy Kids Survey. Every student should have access to skills necessary for confronting the anxiety of everyday life.
Other studies have shown that mindfulness education programs improved students’ self-control, attentiveness and respect for other classmates, enhanced the school climate, and improved teachers’ moods. These results did not surprise me. And it also means teachers are aware of mindful ideas throughout the day.Several experts likened the current state of mindfulness to the way people approached yoga a few decades back.
As a former teacher who now practices meditation myself, I’ve often wondered how I could have used the practice in my own classroom.
These days child's pose is part of everyday language, but not so long ago yoga was seen as kooky or, worse, some odd religious practice. The stress level of teaching seemed to bring out my already-existing anxiety in the worst kind of ways. Recently, some critics have coined the term "McMindfulness" to criticize the mindfulness movement’s tendency to only focus on reducing stress while ignoring the practice’s other key goals of compassion and social awareness.
Children can go there to "take five" when they are overwhelmed by their feelings or unable to manage what's going on in the class."Mindfulness has been my favorite thing in my whole life," says one of the students, Alia Briglia, 6.
I felt obsessed with saving time when there was so much to do and so much to teach to students who I feared were behind. Critics want to ensure that programs emphasize being mindful not only for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others. My advisory group complained of the immense pressure of balancing school with their lives at home. Students constantly booked appointments with the school counselor to talk through their personal struggles with a professional.
But we often miss teaching them the skills they need for daily life: how to build relationships with compassion, how to support each other, how to cope with trauma. A common response from students on their semester reflections was “I’m overwhelmed.”Months after leaving the profession (partially due to its stress), I attended a ten-day beginner meditation retreat. Those are the kinds of skills that will eventually keep them going.”Headstand’s emphasis on character education follows a trend that has gained momentum in urban education circles, particularly after the popularity of journalist Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed, based on his popular New York Times article. After dismal graduation statistics showed only nine percent of low-income students who enter a four-year college actually graduate, Tough’s book theorized that the character traits of college students, even more than their academic skills, could predict whether they succeeded or not. Katherine Priore Ghannam, Headstand’s founder, says, “This is a matter of education reform and public health: Our students desperately need a way to cope with the everyday adversity of living in the conditions that they do. Administrators at an Ohio elementary school discontinued the school’s mindfulness program after parents felt uncomfortable with the practice’s roots in Eastern religion and complained that the program did not use class time valuably. Last year, prosecutors in a prominent court case sued California's Encinitas Union school district, arguing that the district’s yoga program indoctrinated students with Hindu beliefs.“To me, yoga is secular. Yet when the stress level during her first year teaching became overwhelming and made her begin to think her job was unsustainable, a close friend finally convinced her to take a yoga class.“I had an experience in that very first class,” Ghannam said. After practicing yoga, she felt her new sense of calm transferred to the classroom and made the environment more welcoming for her students. My father adopted “Power Yoga” in his early 60s to improve his flexibility, but he still skips the meditation part at the end of the routine. She saw many yoga instructors, accustomed to teaching in studios with middle-aged participants, not adapting their teaching strategies for children in public schools.“For teachers with that kind of experience, working with young students is like speaking a foreign language,” Ghannam said, “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to translate this content to the appropriate level for children.
It also aligns its curriculum’s teaching objectives with California state standards for physical education and health.
I didn’t want to look weird.”Yet both Michael and Tracy eventually found Headstand’s classes beneficial.
Tracy thought her teacher helped students overcome their timidity, and “won over” the majority of the class over time. Tracy ended up loving the practice so much that she wrote her college application personal statement on the effect yoga had on her life. In her statement, Tracy described a doctor’s visit where she learned she had issues with her spine that caused her immense back pain and physical disability. She wrote that yoga helped her  by not only easing the physical pain, but also teaching her that “My imperfections were what made me unique. Through yoga, I reprogrammed my mind to accept my disabilities and to not be crippled by them. You also have to take care of your mind.”Now a senior experiencing the stress of the college application process, Michael used the skills from the class again.
He noticed how his mood changed and self-confidence dipped when worrying about completing his applications.“But now I could stop and realize that this stress is all right.

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