Forum 6.1

This forum is a place for you to share your takeaways and learnings from week 6 – Yoga and Mindfulness.

In the comment section of this page, please respond to following three questions:

  1. What is one takeaway or learning you had from the phone conversation with your learning partner this week? It can be something your partner shared with you or your own idea that the conversation helped you flesh out.
  2. What was your experience like with this week’s daily peace action? Is this is action that you could see incorporating into your personal life, your teaching, or with your students? If so, how?
  3. What is one quote from any of the readings or videos that you find particularly relevant or motivational for your teaching and education work?
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14 thoughts on “Forum 6.1

  1. My learning partner this week was Jerron. We discussed the aspects of our lives that we feel we bring a sense of mindfulness. Jerron shared with me that he feels he is mindful of his purpose as a football coach and educator. He is aware of his players and their needs and goals. As we talked, I realized how critical mindfulness is to education. A teacher must be aware of her students (their abilities, successes, weaknesses, learning styles, lives outside of the classroom), the goals that have been set for them (standards, curriculum, personal), and the environment (resources, climate, schedules).

    I enjoyed the mindfulness exercises presented by Thich Nhat Hanh. I used a variety of the breathing exercises, eating mindfully, walking meditation, and driving meditation in order to be more present in the moment. I found the breathing exercises most helpful and also appreciated the convenience of these exercises because they can be used at any time and place. Mindful breathing calmed me and helped me appreciate my surroundings and current state of mind, body, and soul. I would like to incorporate the breathing exercises into my personal life, especially during times of stress, excitement, anticipation, and major events. It would be helpful to teach my students mindful breathing exercises as a way to cope with stress, concentrate, calm down, and enjoy the present. I also like the idea of using meditation as an introduction and conclusion to the day, such as the program implemented by Visitacion Valley Middle School. I think my students would benefit from a few minutes of silent breathing to help them prepare for the day and reflect on their day. My hope would be that my students apply what they learn about meditation to their lives outside of the classroom.

    “If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we’re always gonna get what we’ve always got. Is that good enough?… We need to be the outliers to try things that have never been tried and see if they work.” – Carlos Garcia (Superintendent San Francisco Unified School District)
    This quote reminds me to remain fluid and open-minded in my teaching practices. It’s important to reflect and try new things if what I’m doing is not helping students be successful. It also reminds me that what works for others, or what is the “normal” way of teaching something, won’t necessarily work for me and my students.

  2. My partner this week was Cassandra, we reflected on the course and we both agreed that this has been a wonderful experience. She stated that she applies many things that she has learned in this class to her personal and she can’t wait to introduce some of the things she learned to her students.

    I finally had some time off and I knew that I had to make time for my nephews. My brother would tell me that they always ask where is uncle Ron? Before becoming a head football I was spending time with them at least once a week. I need to be more mindful on the positive impact that I have on their life and find a way to be consistent with the boys.

    Thinking Less- Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is every step. “While we practice conscious breathing, our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest.” This is very relevant for me because I’m always thinking. I have the responsibility of being a teacher, mentor, coach, and family member at the same time. I need to practice conscious breathing because my mind goes 300 miles per hour with different thoughts on how I could satisfies the people that I surround myself with.

  3. I m very grateful of reading this week’s readings. I personally need peace so much that I ve been trying many ways to do it. I tried going to church and found it was helpful. Yoga is definitely another great way to find peace. And I m glad I was reading it while I was practicing. To me, living alone in a foreign country makes me worry all the time. I have to find myself and make sure things will happen right. Dealing with all that worn me out. Peace is the only thing that helps me to calm down and make right choice. However, as one author wrote, we have to take yoga for many years before we can use it to deal with relationships, communications and the way we act in different situations. So I believe mindfulness and peacefulness takes time.

    I practiced yoga a few times this year. I had to admit it did calm me down and it was always a good way to start a day. While one thing I liked was yoga makes me focus. It sounds easy but being able to focus is an ability that not anyone can do it. A simple example, when we tried to google something, we always ended up googling many other things as well. We turned to be distracted too much by the websites. Yoga definitely makes me feel I was living and apprciating the present.

    I love the short dialogue from Peace is Every Step. “We are good at preparing to live, but not good at living…” I tried a few ways in that article to find peace. I literally went out for a walk right after reading it. One way in the article was to Take a Walk. I was on vacation in San Diego and the surrounding is ideal for walking. I tried not to think of anything but only live present. I found trees are too green to be true and sky is too blue to believe . I wonder who create the world , making it so beautiful. I felt I was guilty and ashamed if I donot cherish this beautiful world! I greeted the joggers

  4. I had the opportunity of working with Tina Jones. It was amazing speaking with her about the course of this class. One takeaway for me this week was listening to her about the importance of yoga, hot yoga and how you really release stress by the exercise. She even suggested a great place to practice the exercise . I learned that yoga can utilize many different muscles , focus on breathing techniques and most important helps you relate with yourself spiritually. Tina would love to become a yoga instructor and she loves working with older students. We both are enjoying the instructor various ways of delivering the lessons , the class and the activities as well.

    2. I enjoyed completing the daily peace activity for the week . It really challenged me to get involved with spiritual meditating through yoga . I will try some of the other forms of yoga and hope to enjoy the experience with my students through the implementation of quiet time , which I will try this year.

    3. One quote I found to be motivational for working with my students was from the Vanessa King video where the empowerment of yoga and how she felt happiness through the completion of yoga. The fear and sadness was always there , but she wasn’t aware and of all the conflicts and how they were reality and not allusions. She was empowered by the strength of yoga. She found peace within herself . On this note, I would love for my students to relieve some of the tension, stress, anger, bitterness that they bring and hold on the inside through the releasing of negative energy and to allow positive energy to flow from within.

  5. Goodness, Alex and I did a great, mindful comprehensive review of this course talking about how the various techniques we learned thus far can tie into/enrich our instructional and/or personal lives. I think the best takeaways this week were 1) mindfulness is necessary to move all aspects of one’s life forward 2) calming exercises and breathing definitely have a place in helping one become peaceful and mindful 3) it appears spiritually on some level is an aspect of mindfulness

    I thoroughly immersed myself into this week’s peace action probably because it resonated with me. I did Hanh’s “The Eucharist”. Not only did I benefit but it brought smiles (and I want to believe present mindfulness) to the people around me. So this week, I made it a point to speak with or at least greet the people I encountered while standing in lines, walking through the grocery, and walking through the neighborhood. I complemented something about them or asked their opinion (“Have you tried this brand?”). Yesterday, a neighbor I greeted earlier in the week actually stopped to ask me about a rose in my garden. Nice right?

    The quote that resonated with me this lesson is: “Breathe! You are alive” (Thich Nhat Hanh). So simple but so mindful.

    PS – The DC Youth Slam Team placed 2nd in the Grand Slam finals of Brave New Voices, the largest international youth poetry festival. One of their poems really exposes media/popular misconceptions and stereotypical images of cultures while communicating the inherent similarities we could focus on to bring people closer together…it’s here on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv00xjClbx0 These youth really understand. Hope you enjoy

  6. My partner and I had a great conversation. We discussed what we liked about the course and how it has made us look at life, our everyday living differently. What we are taking and infusing into our classes. The quiet time at the beginning and end of class, the yoga, and a lot more. I expressed to Shawanda that yoga is a great exercise class, especially hot yoga. It really teaches you how to focus and do away with the outside stressers. I think that is why yoga is such a hit in schools today.

    I always try to be with peace in my everyday life, especially at work. Being that i am a Health and PE teacher I have to lead by example, working out on my own and with the kids, eating healthy, and trying to live and demonstrate stress free life. It is just hard for the kids once they leave me and all they see is the bad things to eat and do. All I can try to do is give them the tools to resist temptation and be strong in your choices.

    As I think of this coming school year and how excited I am for it to get started I am also scared of what is to come. Peace is and would be a marvelous thing to conqueor in school much less the world, but it is bigger that us, the teachers. Yes it is true it has to start somewhere, but it has with the whole peace movement. I want people to see that it is a true war outside for our kids and we are losing it day in day out. Were we reach one three will fall. I need them to listen to us, the ones on the front line of this war and let us do what we love to do….. TEACH!!

  7. 1) My partner this week was Pam and we had a great conversation that touched on a number of different topics. One major take away from my conversation was how easily religion or some sort of spirituality can be incorporated into peace pedagogy. Both of us talked about how this class gives you tools that will not only help you in the classroom but also help you become a more complete and happier person. Pam and I also talked about how a number of the different peace actions throughout the semester can also incorporate a spiritual component. We also discussed how the role of education is to prepare students for the future and this course has taught us tools and skills to use not just in the classroom but in the real world. Both of us agreed that in our ever changing society we need to give our students tools like the ones we have learned in this course to become more complete individuals. Because in today’s society there are a lot more demands that come from a variety of different situations that might not have easy solutions and we need to give our students the tools to respond and deal with those.

    2) I really experimented with the walking meditation this week I found it extremely helpful to do that walking to work every morning and walking home every evening. It helped compartmentalize my day, for example if something bad happened at the office it allowed me to keep that at the office and not bring that into my apartment.

    3) The quote that really made me think was from Thich Nhat Hanh, “The next time you are caught in a traffic jam, don’t fight. It’s useless to fight. Sit back and smile to yourself, a smile of compassion and loving kindness.” I felt like this quote can be applied to many more aspects of one’s life than just being stuck in a traffic jam. I feel like it applies to most life disagreements or conflicts in general, well maybe most of the conflicts in my life. This quote made me think about how in conflicts what you go into the conflict or situation can totally change how you see it and the results that come from it. By approaching it from a place of love and kindness like the quote says the conflict or situation has a larger probability of being resolved by a peaceful solution.

    • Hi, Alex. I feel the same way about my commute to work as you did this week doing walking meditation to work. I bike to work and its the ride in the morning and in the afternoon that allow prepare me to enter the office with a good mindset and when I leave, leave everything at the office so when I get home I can be fully present with my family. It really has transformed my life for the better. When I was taking the metro, I would find myself bringing a lot of stuff from the office home with me, but when I bike all I do is focus on pedaling and the road right in front of me (and oftentimes the trees, wind, etc.).

  8. One take away that I got from this week’s learning is that peace and mindfulness go hand in hand in order to appreciate your self as a being and to respect others around you as a sensitive and living being also. Too many times we take our existence and the existence of others as a privilege. Through yoga I learn that all our movements, thoughts and ideas are controlled by a higher being. Therefore we need to be more mindful of relationships that we develop with others as we journey through the Earth. In addition I understand that having a peaceful mind initiates a peaceful environment.
    One thing that I have become more mindful about is time spent with family, eating and meditating. I need to appreciate the good, bad or indifference in my family so that we all can have a peaceful environment. I need to really examine the food I eat and be more mindful to ensure that I have the right nutrients for my body and need to really establish a more quiet time for my spiritual and physical well-being.
    One quote that resonates with me is from Hanh, “If a people in a household cannot smile at each other, the situation is very dangerous.” This quote is not only applicable in your household, but where ever you go; on the street, in the classroom, and with those whom you work with daily. I have evaluated myself and have discovered that I do not smile as much as I use to especially when I am at work. I am in the process of doing a reflective analysis on how and why my smile mood has changed over the years. I endeavor to do better to ensure a peaceful environment.

  9. Alex Stryker was my partner. She mentioned that she is mindful about her relationships with people. She tries to be a good sister, girlfriend, etc. When she said that, I was struck that I’m also very mindful about relationships, even though I had been thinking of mindfulness as focusing more on specific tasks, such as eating and exercising or meditating. I do a pretty good job in being present with the people I’m spending time with. So it was affirming to recognize at least one area where I’m mindful.

    I’m not very mindful about eating and it was helpful to slow down and savor my food more this week. That’s the action that I chose from the reading by Thich Nhat Hanh. I have some fresh tiny tomatoes from my sister’s garden and it was particularly beautiful to eat them mindfully. By the way, I believe I started inhaling my food when I was a child in school and the lunch breaks were so short. I wanted to eat quickly so I could go out for recess. Then in high school there wasn’t even recess but the lunch break was less than a half hour. By the time I stood in line for food and sat down, I had to eat in 15 minutes or so. That’s not very good for teaching mindfulness!

    I pondered over the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, “We are good at preparing to live, but not very good at living.” I feel that I have spent a lot of my life in school. I’m a perpetual learner and I often choose bookish activities. For example, right now I’m getting a second master’s degree and I’ve took umpteen continuing ed classes. But I also need to live out some other aspects of my being, such as exercising my body, clearing my mind of thoughts, cooking, etc.

    Sometimes I also wonder if I like the idea of being a teacher more than actually being a teacher. I get excited learning about all the ways to be a better teacher, but in the actual experience, sometimes I’m not having fun. But at the same time, sometimes I have a lot of fun being a teacher, when a lesson goes well and the kids are relaxed and being themselves. So I guess it all evens out.

  10. Pingback: Week 6 – Yoga and Mindfulness (Summer 2013) | Peace Learner

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