From: Drew Brown
Going to yoga is a great stress reliever for me. I always feel rejuvenated after a yoga class. Even after a long day of teaching, I enjoy focusing on my yoga practice a few days per week. I have been trying out a new meditation class at my local yoga studio, and I recently gained a great new idea that connected with a recent lesson.
Our instructor, Gretchen, guided the participants through observing a raisin’s texture, form and color. We examined the highlights and asymmetry of the form. I inhaled the soft, sweet, earthy fragrance. I noticed the subtle flavors of the tiny food. We repeated the process with an almond and a raspberry, noticing similarities and differences in each aesthetic experience. In the closing segment, Gretchen asked us to pair with someone we didn’t know and talk about any thoughts or impressions that had risen to the surface during the exercise. My partner said that she had never tasted anything so good. A lesson in mindfulness--slowing down to focus, observe, discover and learn through sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste.
The raisin, the almond and the raspberry
The education world is abuzz with words like differentiation and rigor. Teachers have long known about the advantages of teaching to different learning styles such as visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile. Through sensorial education, we can help restore “play” into the classroom and turn an ordinary lesson into an extraordinary experience.
In the guided meditation, I was reminded of the rewards of close observation and mindfulness. Recently, my students sketched and sculpted foods of their choice in clay with emphasis on form, color and texture while studying food as subject matter in the works of Oldenburg, Warhol, Thiebaud and more. The lesson was challenging, and my students struggled to figure out the subtle colors of foods and create implied texture on their 3D forms. How could I inspire each and every student to observe more closely, internalize more deeply, and consider more thoughtfully the task-at-hand?
5th grade clay sculpture 1
5th grade clay sculpture 2
5th grade clay sculpture 3
5th grade clay sculpture 4
Next year, I plan try the lesson again and kick off with an exercise in careful and attentive observation using the five senses. Asking my students to observe, touch, taste, and smell simple foods will be a great hook for my lesson. When my students have time to observe more closely and more fully, I hope they will create the mental space in which to consider the world around them, to push the boundaries of their creativity and to exhibit their learning more fully.
Art by Jackson Dunlap, 5th grade Art Club student
Roswell Yoga Life owner Gretchen Griffin, the blogger, and yoga instructor, Jackie Kaminer