Meditation enters Mumbai classrooms

April 10, 2012

Students across [Mumbai] city schools will soon start their day by closing their eyes for 15 minutes and breathing deeply to keep stressful thoughts at bay. In an attempt to relieve the ever-increasing stress of students as well as the school authorities, the state education department has introduced compulsory meditation in all government-aided schools.

The Maharashtra State Council of Research and Technology (MSCERT) has introduced meditation sessions in the morning, for school teachers, headmistress and students between classes V to X. MSCERT director Shridhar Salunke says the council has initiated the move to help students relieve stress, boost self-confidence, improve grades and even cut down on bad behaviour.

At least one teacher from every school … Read more »

Yoga shows psychological benefits for high-school students

April 9, 2012

Yoga classes have positive psychological effects for high-school students, according to a pilot study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

Since mental health disorders commonly develop in the teenage years, “Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health,” according to the new study, led by Jessica Noggle, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Fifty-one 11th- and 12th-grade students registered for physical education (PE) at a Massachusetts high school were randomly assigned to yoga or regular PE classes. (Two-thirds were assigned to yoga.) Based on Kripalu yoga, the classes consisted of physical yoga postures together with breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Students in the comparison group received … Read more »

Meditation helps kids pay attention, leading researcher says

February 17, 2012

Gordon Hoekstra, PostMedia News: Simple meditation techniques, backed up with modern scientific knowledge of the brain, are helping kids hard-wire themselves to be able to better pay attention and become kinder, says neuroscientist Richard Davidson.

Davidson — who will speak Friday at the University of British Columbia on his new co-authored book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain — has put his research into practice at elementary schools in Madison, Wis.

About 200 students at four elementary schools have used breathing techniques to hard-wire their brains to improve their ability to focus on their work.

"It’s so widely popular and successful, the district wants …

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Amidst chaos, 15 minutes of quiet time helps focus students

February 10, 2012

On a recent morning at Visitacion Valley Middle School in South San Francisco, Principal James Dierke looked out over the school’s auditorium at more than 100 eighth graders. A restless din filled the large room. Bursts of laughter and errant shouts punctuated the buzz. Most of the students seemed disinterested in Dierke’s announcements about the spring’s impending graduation, upcoming field trips, and recent birthdays.

Then, Dierke struck a bell and said, “Okay, it’s quiet time.”

And just like that, a hush fell over the auditorium. Students straightened their backs and closed their eyes. Some bowed their heads. Others rested them on the backs of …

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The Buddha Walks Into A Bar, by Lodro Rinzler

January 23, 2012

The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation is the literary debut of 28 year-old Shambhala Buddhist teacher, Lodro Rinzler. The book is aimed at “Generation O” and makes no assumptions about any prior knowledge or experience of Buddhism. Having said that, despite being a ‘young Buddhist’ I have almost a decade of experience of Buddhism yet I still found this book enjoyable, useful, and interesting.

I must admit, I did wince slightly at some of the expressions in the book, such as “Sid said…” when referring to the Buddha, but perhaps this is due to not being so ‘down with the kids’ these days. However, the cringe-effect quickly … Read more »

Give the teens in your life the gift of calmness

December 9, 2011

Almost ever summer over the last ten years, I’ve been teaching low income teens how to use their minds more effectively so that they can be more successful students, but also so that they can be more successful, happier, less stressed individuals.

We cover a lot of ground in my six-week course, but a core element is the practice of meditation. I was hesitant to do this. I wondered whether these restless teens would be able to sit still even for five to ten minutes. And what if they thought it was lame?

As it turned out, the most common comment in the end-of-term evaluation reports was “The best part was the meditation. I wish … Read more »

Monks teach meditation to incarcerated teens

November 24, 2011

Melissa Russo: Some of New York City’s angriest teens are learning the way to a more peaceful path with a little help from the Buddha.

Inside the Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brownsville, the contrast between the street kids in their orange detention suits and the monks in their brown robes could not be more pronounced.

The group of monastics files into the facility, and they’re unlike anything these kids have seen in their neighborhood: soft-spoken, barefoot and bald.

“It was pretty interesting,” said one 15-year-old. “I didn’t think they were real.”

“When I saw them walk through the door, I was …

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“Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face” by Sally Devorsine

November 23, 2011

This lovely children’s book has been test-driven by my five-year-old daughter, and found to be engaging and illuminating. In my amateur estimation it would be suitable for children considerably older — at least up to the age of eight or nine.

Now I Know (the full title is “Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face”) is the first of a series, also called Now I Know, described as a “Collection of Retro Cool Wisdom for Kids.” This series of children’s books is written and illustrated by Sally Devorsine, who lives in Bhutan, where she teaches a western school curriculum to young monks.

Title: Now I

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Relax, kids: Meditation touted as stress buster for children

November 11, 2011

Tralee Pearce: I haven’t studied enough. I’m going to fail the test. My mom’s going to be mad. Maybe I’ll skip class.

Thoughts like these can quickly gallop out of control in kids’ minds, but what if there was a way they could clear them away? Enter the three-minute breathing meditation, which can be done anywhere, whether it’s on the bus or in a school hallway.

It’s one of the cornerstones of the increasingly popular practice of mindfulness, a blend of Buddhism-inspired calm and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Used as a therapy for adults for about 30 years, it’s now moving into the world of kids …

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Teaching meditation at school

November 11, 2011

Liese Stanley: I’ve been teaching meditation to adults for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve worked with school students.

Session 1

The first surprise is the boy/girl ratio: there’s only one girl but eight boys. We began with a switching off of phones, and we chat about their thoughts and expectations for meditation. I introduce myself and give a bit of background.

They have some really good comments and it turns out that one person has tried meditation before. We begin a meditation within 10 minutes as it feels right to practice rather than talk and I think it will ease …

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