Celebrating Mindfulness and Wellbeing Education Innovations this International Day of Yoga
Yoga derives from Hindu and Eastern religious practices as a form of meditation and exercise meant to unite mind and body. However, it has spread all over the world, even among those not following Eastern religions. Yoga has become very popular, and it was made a UN observance day to promote “health, harmony, and peace”.
Yoga as a term has multiple definitions. The most popular definition is from the Bhagvad Gita, a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, which defines yoga as the “purity of mind”. As per the book and its interpretations, only a balanced mind can unite with the Divine.
Now who wouldn’t want a balanced mind?
Yoga as a practice is also gaining increasing popularity across schools around the world, mainly due to its impact on the human body and mind. As per Marlynn Wei for Harvard Health Publishing, “Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12). Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children. Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.”
At HundrED, we have observed the same in our global community of students and found that our Youth Ambassadors resonate with the need for wellbeing and mindfulness practices in schools and in their daily lives. When we asked them what practices they currently employ when feeling stressed or anxious, Marigold Mioc, 10, from Canada expressed her love for drawing and using it as a tool to rewind.
Folakemi Fariogun, 19, from Nigeria, balances her stress by praying as well as hanging out with her friends. For Carolina Pérez, 19, from Spain, beating her stress and anxiety comes from doing intense sports, practicing yoga and listening to good music!
Muneeb Hassan, 15, from Pakistan, had a little more to share:
On this International Day of Yoga, we further want to highlight the work of some of our recognized innovations who work in the space of wellbeing and mindfulness through web applications, dance lessons, animal interactions and more. Today, we aim to celebrate and share their work for this upcoming global need.
Smiling Mind is a mindfulness app that empowers students, teachers and parents with the tools to pro-actively look after their mental health and wellbeing.
S.M.I.L.E.S. stands "Stress-free, Motivating, Inquisitive Learning Eco-System" that integrates Mindfulness and Yoga in teacher training pedagogy. SMILES program imparts holistic teacher training in a stress-free collaborative learning ecosystem by integrating mindfulness with pedagogy, integrating well-being with classroom management and igniting the inquisitiveness & passion for learning.
Geelong Grammar School has pioneered a school-wide approach to student and staff wellbeing known as Positive Education. Based on the science of Positive Psychology, Positive Education aims to enable individuals and communities to flourish. GGS continues to share its journey and has assisted over 1000 schools throughout Australia and the world.
Inspired by the research on the benefits of human-animal interactions, in particular, dogs’ ability to help people become calm and socially connected, the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum was developed to teach children Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills using canine-assisted activities and interactions. The program is a unique combination of humane education and social and emotional learning.
Challenge 59 uses dance as a vehicle for embodied learning about health and wellbeing - physically, emotionally and socially, empowering participants and equipping teachers. We use film as a tool to amplify young voices and co-produce their ideas into 59-second films with a local health message. Children and teachers are then asked to consider how to share these within wider communities.