Imagine sitting at a desk for seven hours every day, with only fifteen minutes to eat your lunch. No time for exercise, no after work gym visit, no walk through the park, just sitting at your desk. Imagine how this would affect your focus and interaction with your colleagues, friends and family. Unfortunately, this is the reality for millions of public school children throughout this country. Good news: for very minimal investment we can change this.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending an event to benefit an amazing organization, Bent On Learning, whose mission is to provide free yoga classes that include meditation (quiet time) for school children in New York City. Joining the two together, yoga and children, is an obvious synergy, because yoga is a great physical workout that teaches kids, in fact teaches everyone, how to use what they already have -- their body, breath and mind -- to feel better about themselves, to release stress, calm their emotions, and increase focus. I personally came away from the evening with a renewed commitment to bringing yoga to kids throughout the New York City public school system and throughout the country.
The shift in the education system in our country from a holistic approach to the focus on standardized testing has resulted in an educational approach that is not healthy. Not surprisingly, nearly 50 percent of New York City's public school kids now suffer from being obese or over weight. Children need to exercise to be able to learn, to be happy and to be healthy. Bent On Learning provides kids with an easy, economical way to exercise by just pushing their desks aside within the classroom (as 43 percent of the schools in New York City don't have any sort of gymnasium or gym teacher) and rolling out a mat to practice.
I have been a supporter of bringing yoga and meditation to schools for many years. I am a member of the advisory board of the David Lynch Foundation and I have seen the incredible results proven through the research done by some of the best schools. I am encouraged when I see tastemakers like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham, Sean Lennon, Julian Schnabel and many others coming out to promote such a good, smart, affordable solution to our children's problems like obesity, A.D.D. and depression. The problems are real and this solution is as well.
Let's get to it.