Willson School, a PreK-8 public school of Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in Ohio, has a full-fledged “Meditation Center”.
According to reports, students can self-refer or teachers can refer students to the Willson Meditation Center (WMC) for short periods of meditation or yoga time. Activities at this Center include meditation, pranayama, yoga, etc. After participating in activities at the Center, the student then is sent back to class calm and centered to return to learning. It also uses aromatherapy with essential oil diffusers. The goal is to open up this Center to the entire community.
WMC, floated in September last and where meditations are said to be more focused around visualizations; is described as “safe space where students can go to deal with their emotions” and “to regroup”. In CMSD, “meditation” is listed among activities at John F. Kennedy High School, and “Meditations are held on Friday” at Euclid Park Elementary School.
Hindus have welcomed the idea of a meditation center in a public school. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, calling WMC a step in the positive direction, urged all public school districts of Ohio to launch meditation centers in their schools, thus providing an opportunity to students to avail the multiple benefits meditation and yoga offered.
Meditation develops, purifies and trains the mind and brings inner transformation; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, states; and adds that dhyana (meditation) finds mention in Upanishads (pre-BCE Hindu scriptures).
Rajan Zed points out that practice of meditation is said to enhance self-awareness; foster clear thinking; generate positive feelings; improve attention/concentration/focus; increase creativity, decision-making ability and empathy; reduce anxiety/stress; strengthen relationships; etc.
Zed further says that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, is a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. Pranayama, practiced at WMC, finds mention in ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita.
CMSD, second largest in Ohio and committed to “shifting our culture”, serves a multicultural student body of 37, 701 students at 103 schools in Cleveland, Bratenahl, Linndale, Newburgh Heights, and parts of Brook Park and Garfield Heights. Anne E. Bingham and Eric S. Gordon are Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer respectively. Dawn Hayden is Principal of Willson, which “offers a unique, individualized learning experience”. John Dorotics, physical education teacher, is the facilitator and organizer of WMC.