How mindfulness practices are changing an inner-city school

The focus at Robert W. Yoga adelaide western suburbs Coleman Elementary is not on punishment but on mindfulness — a mantra of daily life at an unusual urban school that has moved away from detention and suspension to something educators hope is more effective.

Here, students are referred to the Mindful Moment Room when they misstep or need calming. Yoga exercises for carpal tunnel In a space decorated with bright curtains, lavender cushions and beanbags, program staff members coax students to explain what happened, to talk about their feelings, to breathe deeply.


The third-grader who scuffled with a classmate broke into tears. Yoga poses to avoid in early pregnancy Staff member Oriana Copeland held his hand as they talked. Yoga diet plan for weight loss There were no harsh words. Power yoga manly timetable He came around slowly.

Mindfulness practices — becoming aware of emotions, staying in the present, using meditative breathing to reduce stress — are part of a schoolwide program at Coleman that has changed student discipline and, more broadly, affected the school’s culture. Yoga breathing exercises for energy It is part of a larger effort by the nonprofit Holistic Life Foundation to bring yoga and mindfulness into Baltimore city schools and beyond.

Principal Carlillian Thompson said the practices help the school’s 378 students leave behind the stresses of their lives, including problems at home, violence on the streets and conflicts with friends, so they can get ready to learn. Dahn yoga center brookline In a recent week, one student lost a parent and another experienced a house fire.

As mindfulness has become part of the school’s approach, Thompson said she has seen signs of success. Restorative yoga youtube There is more reflection, more awareness. Power yoga manly sydney “Children are more willing to take responsibility for their behaviors,” she said.

Schools across the country have increasingly embraced yoga and mindfulness practices, but few have done so with the whole-school approach Coleman is using, said Tamar Mendelson, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Research about the effect of mindfulness practices on children in school settings is still in its early stages, but there have been promising signs of social and emotional benefits, and a few studies have pointed to academic improvement, Mendelson said.

“The program seems to be working particularly well at Robert Coleman,” she said. Acro yoga miami “It is very powerful to hear students and teachers talk about positive effects, not only for the individual students, but for the school community and climate as a whole.”

The effort at Coleman started about eight years ago with an after-school program. Dhyana yoga philadelphia rittenhouse Thompson, the principal, said the power of the approach became clear to her one day when a child who was often in trouble for hitting her classmates and disrupting lessons walked into her office and shut the door.

As Thompson looked on with surprise, she said, the girl coached herself through breathing exercises. Yoga tree castro She told herself — speaking aloud — that she was not going to fight that day, she was not going to curse that day. Ashtanga yoga mantra youtube She was 8 or 9 years old.

The Holistic Life Foundation worked with the school to expand the program in 2014. My yoga online free Now there are weekly yoga classes and school days start with a recording over the public address system guiding students through breathing work, movement and meditation. Yoga workout for weight loss It’s 15 minutes of mindfulness at the beginning of school and 15 minutes more when the day ends.

The Mindful Moment Room was another addition, a dedicated space to help students calm down, work on breathing and collect themselves. Bikram yoga langley groupon It provides 15 to 20 minutes out of the classroom to reset emotionally.

Students still get sent to the principal — 30 times last year — but not as often as they once did. Yoga institute houston For the past two years, there have been no suspensions at Coleman.

Tayamisha Von Hendricks, who has taught for 11 years at the school, said mindfulness practices don’t fix everything, but that they do make a difference. Yoga cartoon images free The morning breathing exercises help children start the day with more focus, she said. History of yoga nidra Lately, she sometimes stops class for a breathing exercise when she sees that students are off task or she is growing frustrated.

For some students, like Janaisa Brown, 14, the techniques have been lasting. Yoga pranayama images Janaisa — who as a third-grader inspired her principal — is in ninth grade, with a 3.8 grade-point average. Babaji kriya yoga secrets 2 She said she and her brother have taught her mother yoga and she uses mindfulness daily.

The teenager thinks of the program’s founders almost as adopted uncles: Baltimore brothers Ali and Atman Smith, and Andy Gonzalez, all of whom were undergraduates together at the University of Maryland in College Park.

The men started the after-school programs and ran them for many years with no pay, Gonzalez said, because they believed in the practices and wanted to help children benefit as they had.

In their daily lives, many Coleman students see drug dealing and hear sirens or gunshots; some don’t have stable housing, some worry about relatives getting locked up. Facial yoga exercises for eyes The school is not far from where the Smiths grew up and where there was unrest after the death of Freddie Gray last year.

“These children face a lot of situations that most youth don’t have to deal with,” Gonzalez said. Yoga breathing for sleep apnea The program aims to help them learn to be less impulsive, more focused and self-regulating, with techniques that will endure throughout their lives.

Their effort has grown in recent years, and the three have done workshops, training and classes nationally and internationally. Yoga for neck and shoulder pain youtube Holistic Life has yoga and mindfulness programs in 14 Baltimore schools, with schoolwide initiatives at Coleman Elementary and Patterson High.

Patterson Principal Vance Benton said his school practices breathing during a recorded announcement in the morning, similar to Coleman. Yoga at home workout It also has a Mindful Moment Room, but he says the dynamics are different in high school, where teenagers might not want peers to see them participating.

At Coleman, the Mindful Moment Room was visited often in October, with Holistic Life staff member Jamar Peete counting 256 referrals to the room that month. Yoga for runners youtube On one day in November, a dozen children visited.

By the time he left, another boy had walked in. Restorative yoga sequence for summer Then another. Yoga asanas for neck and shoulder pain Just before 11 a.m., four boys were sitting on the lavender cushions and beanbags, with two staff members.

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