Mindfulness training weaves its way into the classroom

We’ve covered how mindfulness — for good or bad — is establishing itself as a practice in the business world.

Next up? The dreaded health class!

That’ll be no surprise to you. You know that yoga is being taught in more and more schools (via the Sonima Foundation and others). Now, those same business world people might have an inkling — because this story comes from the Wall St. Journal:

More independent schools are pushing to redefine what it means to teach health, shattering the stereotype of awkward classes and squirming students.

Many New York schools are incorporating mindfulness training to help students handle stress and replacing lectures on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases with interactive sessions on life skills, such as communication and decision-making.

For a long time “the definition of success for our members was mainly focused on the academic part,” said Amada Torres, vice president for studies, insights and research at the National Association of Independent Schools. “But now the research is stressing the importance of developing these noncognitive skills.”

The National Association of Independent Schools conducted its first-ever survey this spring on health education among its members. While 85% of the schools surveyed called health and well-being an essential or high priority, only 41% described it as part of their school’s mission.


The changes haven’t come unchallenged. Some teachers worry longer recess will cut into their instruction time. Some students and teachers object to the increased meditations, which “they view as religion or spirituality,” said KC Cohen, middle and upper school counselor and co-director of the health program.

“I think what’s missing is people don’t really understand how much five minutes can center you,” she said.

The story focuses on New York schools, but it sounds like it could be in a lot of places. And it goes beyond a sense of yoga or meditation as a gym class — this is more part of what was the “academic” curriculum.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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