Briarcliff High School’s physical education teachers are giving students tools to reduce stress, both in and outside of school.
Physical Education teacher A.J. Thau invited Jennifer Monness, owner of The Meditation Lab, to teach relaxation techniques to students during physical education class.
Monness held the Meditation Lab at the school this month, with the goal of having 90-95% of the entire student body attend the lab twice.
As part of the lab, students lay down on the floor and practiced mindful breathing exercises, with sounds of ocean waves in the background. They also did simple stretches and a three-step guided meditation.
“It is important to recharge your battery,” Monness told the students. “When we practice meditation we can find ourselves more focused and alert and able to cope better in stressful situations. When our attention is scattered, however, we cannot be the best version of ourselves, so I am here to offer you simple strategies that can help.”
Monness customized the program to fit within a school’s specific physical education or health curriculum, with the lab lasting 35 minutes.
“I thought The Meditation Lab was great. Monness’s tone was perfect, because she is so soft-spoken, and it helped create a calming atmosphere,” Thau said.
Thau said the students seemed to find it useful as well.
Kevin, a senior, had never done meditation before, but was grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s very helpful if you’re stressed out to take time out of your day to do these exercises,” he said. “They can be very beneficial, and I plan to do some on my own, especially before tests or sports. It will definitely be helpful to have the second session of The Meditation Lab, so I am looking forward to it.”
“I hope students understand that there is going to be stress in their lives, and I hope they learned some techniques to help deal with that stress with ways they may have not tried before,” Thau said. “We want to give students strategies that can be applied to all aspects of life and even help students who struggle to fall asleep at night. It can be something as simple as breathing, or just sitting quietly for a little while, but I think everyone can find what works for them.”