(Sharvani Sivakumar, IB Year 2 )
Stepping out of their regular Saturday morning routines, about 40 students gathered at our school auditorium to do something unusual- feet stomping, pretending to be forest animals, and paying attention to breathing in and out.
They had come down for a school event ‘NIRVANA- From Warrior to Warrior’ organised by Vyas, Shweta and I, students from IB Year 2. Being the first of its kind at our school, NIRVANA was initiated to promote the importance of mindfulness and wellbeing amongst the youth.
Mindfulness is a state of acknowledging one’s thoughts and sensations, achieved by focussing one’s awareness on the present moment. Studies have proven that mindfulness activities are not only calming but also reduce stress and increase productivity, making it one of the most sought out qualities in students and employees. However, it is often looked upon with reluctance and disinclination, with teens straying away by just hearing the terms ‘yoga’ or ‘meditation’. Thus, to appeal to the teenagers of high school, we incorporated activities and games that were interactive and engaging, while still encompassing mindfulness.
Led by a certified yoga instructor, we spent the first half an hour exploring our bodies through yoga, stretching out all the stress. Then we went on a ‘Yoga Journey’, narrating a story while the participants acted out elements of it through yoga poses.
Participants were then split into smaller groups and circulated between various activity stations with a facilitator-led game at each one. These team games included balancing buckets on the feet, jumping over and crawling under people, and keeping multiple balls in play. We also had an ‘Om’ chanting station as well as a discussion and debrief station where participants discussed the idea and methods of implementing mindfulness in daily life.
The event ended with a segment of partner yoga, where participants connected to one another (literally!), reminded of the importance of togetherness and support in overcoming struggles in life. Overall, these activities and games also bolstered school spirit and camaraderie amongst students as they had fun together.
This event garnered positive feedback from all those who attended, some of whom had never even done yoga before! Many of them were grateful for the experience, having being able to practice ‘being in the moment’ while still having fun through the various games. This is the exact message that we wanted to spread- mindfulness does not have to be boring and can be practiced in any way, tailored to fit anyone’s needs! Keep calm and breathe!