Posted by: csdailyblog | March 24, 2012

Students Try Out Yoga in Conserve School Field Instruction

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Recently, Conserve School students enjoyed the opportunity to stretch, relax, and learn about the health and fitness benefits of yoga from Amy Nosal, Field Instructor and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Graduate Fellow. Amy explained the stress-relieving, strength-enhancing value of yoga during a recent afternoon Field Instruction class while leading students through a variety of yoga poses. Amy, an experienced yoga instructor, led many popular extracurricular yoga sessions for Conserve students and staff last semester. This semester, along with three other UWSP Graduate Fellows, Amy is assigned to teach Conserve School’s Physical Education course, Field Instruction, and therefore had the opportunity to integrate her skills in yoga instruction into our academic program.

Amy concluded the lesson by leading students through a brief meditation session. Meditation can be a helpful antidote to the hustle-bustle and high stress levels many high-achieving high school students experience, especially as they go through the college admissions process. Research on how the practice of meditation can contribute to overall wellness has burgeoned in recent years. This article from Emory University summarizes research findings and outlines the potential health benefits of meditation.

Amy contributed this brief description of meditation:

Meditation is about cultivating mindfulness, a state of being aware of what’s happening in the present moment.   That includes not only what’s going on around us, but within us, our thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  When we meditate, we simply observe in a nonjudgmental way everything we experience.  Through the practice, we come to understand our mind habits and how we relate to the world.  Many cultures and philosophies have specific forms of meditation, but meditation can be an absolutely secular practice.  

Amy and our fifteen other graduate fellows work at Conserve School through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and are enrolled in the UWSP Graduate Fellowship in Residential Environmental Education, offered by the university’s College of Natural Resources, home of one of the most highly-regarded natural resources and environmental studies programs in the country. Fellows are selected through a competitive process out of a pool of applicants who typically already have extensive experience working with young people in education or enrichment settings and who have bachelor’s degrees in environmental studies, education, recreation, or one of the life sciences. While living and working at Conserve School for two years, they complete a UWSP master’s degree in natural resources with an emphasis in environmental education. Grad Fellows rotate through a variety of assignments each semester at Conserve School in order to gain wide-ranging experience in environmental education. They divide their time between pursuing coursework in instructional techniques, adolescent development, and environmental research and fulfilling a number of critical tasks at the school, including supervising residential life, teaching Field Instruction classes, planning and running weekend and after-school activities, managing administrative tasks, supervising the waterfront, and maintaining our extensive collection of recreational equipment.

UWSP is now accepting applications for the next cohort of graduate fellows (priority deadline November 1); prospective applicants can read about the program on the College of Natural resources website.

– Mary Anna


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