Minds at Meditation

Mrs. Archangelo's freshman biology class mid-meditation

Mrs. Archangelo’s freshman biology class mid-meditation

David Sepplin, Author

For thousands of years, the practice of meditation has been lurking around. Meditation has been used in things like religious practices to self hobbies. 

Meditation is a difficult word to characterize, it is a practice where an individual uses a technique to train attention, awareness, and achieve a mentally clear, emotionally calm, and stable state. One of the most popular techniques of meditation is mindfulness. Mindfulness is best described as the ability to rest in the here and now, fully engaged in what is happening in the moment.

Meditation is still in great practice today. Correctional facilities, prisons, work areas, and schools are benefiting from the skill of meditation. 

Gianna Allen, a physical education teacher at Oakmont High School, practices active meditation with her students regularly. Ms. Allen said, “Generally [students] are pretty receptive to the process. However, not everyone is open to the idea of meditation and are skeptical to its benefits. I perform an active meditation with my students which requires them to remain quiet, but allows some movement and focus on their body’s actions during the meditation.”

Allowing students time for meditation in the school environment creates a different work vibe. Ms. Allen says, “[The students] claim to feel more relaxed after active meditation, some even claiming to feel reinvigorated and motivated to complete their next task. I believe they enjoy the active meditation because it gives them about 20 minutes of unwinding (that most students don’t have during the school day) and time to recenter their focus so they can be more productive.” 

Mixing the school environment with a peaceful approach creates a more stress-free area for peers. Ms. Allen added, “Not everyone likes to meditate, it is a practiced skill.  However, the more you practice the better you become at it.”

 According to a 2017 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the use of meditation has more than tripled from 2012 to 2017. Some of the positive physiological effects those gain from meditating regularly include a lowered state of physical arousal, reduced respiration rate, decreased heart rate, changes in brain wave patterns, and lowered stress as well as countless health perks.

Some schools are focusing on the idea of replacing detention with meditation, as a way to help students gain a positive approach to learning and improve behavior. However, this should only be an option. Piper, a student in Mrs. Archangel’s biology class, thinks meditation should develop into a school wide activity, but disagrees with mindful detention. She said using meditation as a way of discipline is too lenient, “[students] are going to continue getting in trouble.”

Focusing more towards students freedom, Ms. Allen stated, “I realize there are some schools that reported positive outcomes of this approach. I think forcing meditation onto someone could be more detrimental to their behavior. You can’t force a child to meditate especially if they have a negative outlook to it… meditation is not for everyone. It could cause someone to suffer more anxiety and restlessness than before.”

Oakmont Junior Branden Hoegen, who has meditated before, says he looks forward to it every class. “The idea of meditating instead of going straight into work really eases my stress. It’s honestly something that I’m looking forward to doing more often”, Hoegen stated.

Mrs. Archangelo, one of Oakmont’s biology teachers, practices meditation with student on the regular. Sixteen out of seventeen of her first period students claimed they enjoy meditation.   

During a stressful students day, the idea of a meditation period my not seem that bad. This ancient technique is attracting the attention of many millennials, as more and more schools adopt mindfulness. The benefits of meditation are a breath away.