There have been many studies showing the positive effects that meditation and yoga can have on students. It can help improve responses to stress, process past events that may have been difficult, enhance social engagement, and possibly even improve academic performance.
There are now several schools putting these ideals into practice. In Ohio, schools have started implementing “Each Child, Our Future,” a prodgram designed to teach mindfulness and meditation techniques to kids as a way to calm the mind after a school day. This is designed in part to combat the mental health issues that grab hold of a new generation of Americans.
Social-emotional learning is one of the three fundamentals in this program, which hopes to create “processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions”.
“Someone I know said that mindfulness and yoga have helped them with their ADHD and with processing an event where they had lost someone who was dear to them,” wrote freshman Isabella Beiring for a video project about the mindfulness and yoga program.
The San Francisco Unified School District has also implemented their own program, known as the Quiet Time program, which was started by Twin Peaks filmmaker David Lynch. Quiet Time consists of two fifteen minute sessions of transcendental meditation where students are encouraged to breathe deeply, clear their minds, and find their center.
According to the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace website, the Quiet Time meditation program has shown a 65% decrease in violent conflict, a 40% reduction in stress and anxiety, and an 86% reduction in suspensions over a two year period along with a dramatic increase in self-confidence, creativity, and happiness.