Committee for Stress-Free Schools promotes meditation

May 16, 2004, midnight | By Robin Hernandez | 18 years ago

The Committee for Stress-Free Schools hosted a national conference showcasing 30 years of research and experience with Transcendental Meditation (TM) in improving and preventing students' stress on May 12 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Educators, government leaders, health professionals and other foundations interested in promoting or learning about TM and the impact of stress in Washington metropolitan schools were present at the conference. A panelist of speakers, ranging from scientists and doctors to students who practice TM, addressed the audience.

According to a conference booklet, "schools across the country are finding the stress-reducing, nonreligious TM program of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to be an effective solution" to stress. The meditation works to strengthen the cognitive, physiological and affective foundations of learning.

TM is a technique practiced silently for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting in a chair with your eyes closed. According to the Committee for Stress-Free Schools, during TM, "the mind settles down, experiencing finer levels of thought, until it transcends the finest level of thought and experiences the source of thought, pure consciousness, the source of unlimited creativity and intelligence expressed in human life and in nature."

Over 600 scientific studies conducted by independent research institutes and universities including Harvard, Stanford and UCLA Medical School have shown that TM provides benefits for the mind and body that are "highly relevant to improving educational outcomes." TM has been introduced in public and private schools and after-school programs in many schools across the country and the around the world.

Sarina Grosswald, President of SF Grosswald and Associates, a consulting firm in medical education in Alexandria, VA and the project director for the research study on the TM program at the Chelsea School, says that after her experience with TM, she has become a strong advocate. "After the first child in the study was instructed in TM, I asked him how he felt; he said, ‘I feel like it's a whole different world now,'" Grosswald said. "Every child deserves to experience that world."

At the Chelsea School, a private school in Silver Spring, MD that specializes in the education of children with language-based learning disabilities, research is underway to see the effects of TM with children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Linda Handy, the academic director of the Chelsea School has noticed a significant change in the pupils participating in the study. "There is an unquestionable sense of peace and calm since our students took the TM training," said Handy. "In general, students with the above diagnosis have appeared to be more whole since using TM…they are no longer exhibiting the traditional symptoms of ADHD and all that it entails."

Articles in Business Week, The New Yorker and the Washington Post boast of the benefits of TM, some of which include lowered blood pressure in teens, especially African Americans.

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