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Meditation for students to tame phobia

A state-aided school in Siliguri has incorporated meditation in the daily activities of students to reduce stress and earthquake-related phobia.

By MRINALINI SHARMA in Siliguri
  • Published 2.06.15
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Siliguri, June 1: A state-aided school in Siliguri has incorporated meditation in the daily activities of students to reduce stress and earthquake-related phobia.

Sucheta Dutta, the assistant headmistress of Ramakrishna Saradamani Vidyapith, said Piyali Mitra, a volunteer of the Art of Living Foundation, had been teaching meditation and breathing techniques to the students.

"The initiative was taken after the April 25 earthquake in Nepal and a series of aftershocks which created phobia among the students and made them skip school in fear. The students were in school when the second major earthquake hit Nepal on May 12 and strong tremors were felt here too. They panicked a lot and ran out of the classes towards the ground in a disorderly manner which is not a safe way to exit a building. We decided that self-help techniques in meditation and breathing exercises should be taught to the students for two weeks to control panic and chaos. A volunteer of the Art of Living of Ravi Shankar has been imparting the training free," Dutta said.

There are around 1,000 students at the school from Class V to Class XII.

"These sessions are being conducted during the games, lifestyle and library periods so that the studies are not hampered. The meditation and breathing exercises help the students not only exercise self-control and manage a situation tactfully during a crisis but also improve concentration and relieve them of stress. The students are so enthusiastic about attending the sessions that we have decided to incorporate it as a permanent activity which can be held three or four times a week. We plan to place a proposal before the managing committee to include the session in the school activity," Dutta said.

Piyali Mitra, the instructor, said her sessions help release toxins from the body as well as deal with stress, panic, phobias and depression.

"My session for the fortnight ends tomorrow. In the past 14 days, I have taught meditation and breathing techniques to the students from Class V to Class XII. I have asked the students to practice what they have learnt on a regular basis as it will benefit them a lot," said Mitra.

Payal Moulick, a Class VII student, said: "After the earthquake, I felt everything around me was shaking and I ran whenever I heard a loud noise. But ever since I have started practising meditation and breathing techniques, the fear has faded away and I don't panic anymore. I will be very happy if these sessions are held on a regular basis at the school."

Jui Sarkar, another Class VII student, said the meditation sessions had helped her improve concentration in studies.

"Earlier I used to be distracted a lot when the teacher would take classes or when I would study at home. My concentration has improved and I am able to focus on my studies without being distracted," said Jui.