Embodied Learning: Yoga and Mindfulness Access in Education Summit
In February of 2015 our research team organized and held a full day summit at Duke University to discuss the accessibility of yoga in education. The summit brought together community members, students, and educators from diverse backgrounds to discuss the benefits and challenges of providing yoga and mindfulness practices in US K-12 and higher education settings. This summit sparked an important conversation about the intersections of yoga, access, and social justice. We believe our education systems should educate the whole person and that yoga and mindfulness play a critical role in working towards the accessibility of mind, body, and spirit practices for all.
Our keynote speaker was Michelle Johnson, a social worker, yoga teacher, and activist in the Triangle Area. Johnson spoke about the importance of creating a just and equitable yoga practice, on our mat and in our lives. Following Johnson’s keynote there was a series of 3 breakout sessions, during which participants could choose one of two small group discussions to attend. The small group discussions were led by yoga teachers, UNC and Duke professors, college students, Y.O.G.A for Youth teachers, and members of the medical community. Each breakout session focused on some aspect of the challenges and importance of making yoga and mindfulness practices more accessible in education settings and more inviting to people of all backgrounds.
This summit was only one small step in making yoga and mindfulness practices more accessible in education settings. We hope that through our research endeavors and the help of community members and the committed Y.O.G.A for Youth teachers and volunteers we can take more steps in the right direction for an education system that fosters the growth of mind, body, and spirit.
The Embodied Learning Summit was made possible through the Kenan-Biddle Partnership, a grant that aims to spark collaboration between Duke and UNC-CH.
Photography from Alec Himwich Photography