[Meditation at Pomfret School]
Nowadays, many high school students suffer from the excess amount of schoolwork and the extracurricular activities that they do after school. As more and more students are showing critical symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as loss of focus and memory decay, some of the boarding schools in the United States have developed specific health issue programs in order to improve students’ health and productivity in classes.
Recently, just like the students from the other schools, Pomfret School students had their second Health and Wellness weekend, a program designed to improve students’ bodies, minds and spirits. Although there were numerous options at the event, the meditation session was the most favored program amongst students because meditation was regarded as a mere “sleeping time”.
Just as my friends who signed up for the meditation group to take a break and get some sleeping therapy, so did I applied for the same reason. Since I was not having enough sleep in that week, I was glad that I could use the class time to replenish sleep. Like I expected, the meditation group started with lying down on the mat and closing eyes. My friends and I listened to Carolyn Wagner’s, the Social Issues teacher, pleasant and gracious voice and followed her instruction. Before we actually started meditating, Ms. Wagner said that meditation is a self-practice of finding one’s top values of life. In addition, she emphasized that we should not completely fall asleep; otherwise, we would lose the full focus of meditation and deviate from the ultimate purpose of meditation. Unfortunately, as Ms. Wagner expected, some of the students, including me, fell asleep during the meditation. I eventually woke up when my friend kept tapping on my shoulder. During the discussion, Ms. Wagner explained that the best time to meditate is in the morning because this is the period in which our bodies is rested and have alertness. I was ashamed of falling off sleep during the meditation, but Ms. Wagner comforted me by saying that beginners’ minds try to escape meditation easily.
“Our minds know how to be busy thinking but not used to being aware but “empty. This is the reason why our minds get so easily distracted and make people fall asleep,” said Ms. Wagner.
After school last week, I went to see Ms. Wagner to learn about the primary positive effects of meditation in our real lives and different types of meditation.
“Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga represent a state of mind that should be as much a part of our daily lives as a good long run or a “cuppa” favorite tea”, said Ms. Wagner.
[A session of anti-gravity yoga]
Ms. Wagner further elaborated that daily meditation helps students focus for longer sustained period of time. When students are able to have longer focusing time span, they would obviously learn more and better at classes, thus increasing both their grades and their participation with eagerness to learn. In addition, Ms. Wagner further emphasized that Transcendental Meditation, which is a type of meditation in which minute focus is the key, is especially effective in reducing anxiety and stress. Furthermore, she explained that a brief meditation session for around four days a week can reduce fatigue boost the immunity system. Furthermore, Ms. Wagner told me that drawing attention to different parts of the body would calm our muscle and decrease the tension.
“Mindfulness is one of the most widely used meditation in which the participant observes sensations in the body”, said Ms. Wagner.
Looking back at my first time of having meditation during the Health and Wellness weekend, I realized that what I did is the mindfulness, which I found a comfortable position, closed my eyes, and felt different sensations across my body. At the end of my interview with Ms. Wagner about meditation, I realized that daily meditation or at least a short period of mindfulness moment can help students and other elders to relieve their stress and look back at their daily lives and re-think about their purposes of lives.
Youngjae (Aaron) Kim
Youngjae (Aaron) Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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