Sunday November 18, 2018

Students in Georgia school will no longer say ‘Namaste’ during Yoga practice

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Photo: blog.onlineprasad.com

Bullard Elementary School students in Georgia will no longer say ‘Namaste’ during yoga practice

Georgia, US: The children of one Georgia elementary school will namaste no more during yoga practice after their parents complained to officials that it pushed the Hindu religion onto students.
Bullard Elementary School principal Patricia Moore promised parents this week that students would no longer say ‘Namaste’ or put their hands at heart center, part of the gesture, during yoga.

‘I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community,’ she said in a letter to parents.

Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia will no longer allow children to say ‘Namaste’ or put their hands at heart center, part of the gesture, during the school’s yoga practice (file photo)

‘While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some.’

The word Namaste literally translates to ‘I bow to you’ but has also been interpreted to mean ‘The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,’ according to The Chopra Center.

In the Namaste gesture, one places their hands together at the heart, closes their eyes and bows. It is used to conclude a yoga practice and in the Hindu custom is a respectful and common way to say hello.

But some parents at the Kennesaw elementary school saw it as the equivalent of prayer in the classroom.

‘They’re pushing ideology on our students,’ Cobb County mother, Susan Jaramillo told 11 Alive.

‘Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.’

Bullard held a ‘Coffee and Conversations’ with parents to discuss their concerns before Moore announced the removal of the word from the students’ yoga practice.

The school will also no longer all students to color Mandalas during breaks. A mandala is a Hindu and Buddhist symbol for the universe that has become a popular pattern for coloring books

The principal added that the students would also stop using Mandala coloring pages during their ‘brain breaks’.

A mandala, loosely translated to mean ‘circle’ in Sanskrit, is a Hindu and Buddhist symbol for the universe.

It has since become a generic term for any diagram or pattern that represents the cosmos and, thanks to its intricate design, has become a popular pattern for both children and adult coloring books.

Moore said teachers would also continue not teaching students about the possible healing powers of crystals.

‘Although teachers have never used nor taught about crystals having healing powers during these breaks, we understand it has become a belief,’ she wrote.

‘Therefore we will ensure that nothing resembling this will be done in the future.’

Moore said the school also plans to form a committee of parents that will explore ‘research-based techniques and ideas for the classroom’, including when it comes to ‘mindfulness’.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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New Study Shows Link Between Meditation And Greater Focus

Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size.

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Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health.

Pranayamic breathing – an important part of yoga and meditation – has a unique ability to strengthen our focus and a new study by Trinity College Dublin has unlocked its secret. The researchers note that pranayamic breathing affects the levels of a natural chemical in the brain called noradrenaline. The latter is released when we are challenged, curious, focused, or emotionally excited. When present at the right levels, noradrenaline helps the brain grow new connections and helps us concentrate better on important tasks.

The old masters were on the right track

The researchers noted: “Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. We looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims.” The researchers did so by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where noradrenaline is made. Noradrenaline is affected by stress; when we are worried or anxious we produce too much, and cannot concentrate. When we feel lazy, on the other hand, we produce too little and once again, focus is lost. One way to boost levels is through yoga; another method which can complement the latter is the consumption of medical grade focus supplements, which contain compounds such as octopamine (which has a similar effect to noradrenaline).

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Conversely, those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain. Pixabay

Pranayamic breathing aces the right balance

In the above study, researchers noted that brain activity in the part of the brain where noradrenaline is produced raises slightly when we inhale and drops slightly as we exhale. Thus, balance is achieved and we can focus on what we have set out to do. Pranayama not only boosts concentration but also produces “changes in arousal, attention, and emotional control that can be of great benefit to the meditator.”

What is Pranayamic breathing?

Pranayamic breathing involves controlling and extending breath, with a view to manipulating your vital energy, battling stress, and improving your mood. It is often used in meditation and yoga and interestingly, many yoga experts rank pranayama as even more important than asanas (the postures performed in a yoga session). In yogic tradition, breath is said to carry a person’s life force. Interestingly, scientific studies back this assertion to the extent that pranayamic breathing is able to boost brain function and change the actual structure of the brain. In recent studies, pranayamic breathing has been found to lower or stabilize blood pressure, lower stress, and reduce anxiety and depression.

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In order to comprehend better the Indian seers constructed the special “BOAT” – named Yoga/Meditation.

Implications of the study for aging

The researchers are excited that their findings could signal a way to prevent brain aging. They stated that if brains typically lose mass as we age, practices such as pranayamic breathing greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, thus potentially helping keep dementia and related diseases at bay. Because keeping noradrenaline levels at an optimal level can help the brain grow new connections, meditation is an ideal activity to pursue.

Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health. Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size. To make the most of the effect of breathing on focus, consider joining a yoga class or learning the essence of pranayamic breathing online or through an app like Prana Breath or Universal Breathing.