Can learning about body posture change student behavior? How will practicing meditation affect the academic experience of elementary and middle school students? A school in Torreón, Mexico integrates meditation practices into their classrooms with the support of a Meditation in Education project team from The 3 Doors international meditation organization. The HECAT (Hermandad Educativa CAT A.C.) School Project is in its second year of assessing the benefits of the 3 Doors meditation practices with 210 students ages 8-16 in classroom environments.
“What I like about meditation is that I relax. I can concentrate more and I like the posture and listening. Every time we meditate I’m more open; we can hear what is around us and what lies within us. I use the three meditation spheres: red, white and blue.”
César A., fourth grade, 8 years old.
For the past year and a half, The 3 Doors HECAT School Project team has been working with school administrators, teachers and parents to study the benefits of 3 Doors meditation practices. This program uses the 3 Doors meditation methods that are rooted in the ancient Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition and appropriate for those of any or no religious affiliation.
The educational portion of this program includes instruction on how to use body posture to facilitate greater self-awareness. The 3 Doors meditation methods taught are known as Inner Refuge or “Internal Shelter”, Three Precious Pills or “Precious Spheres”, Nine Breathings, and Tsa Lung. This year the Five Warrior Syllables will also be introduced. There is a self-reflection and sharing portion of this program, which allows participants to discuss their practice experiences and ask questions. The students practice daily by themselves and weekly in small groups. One of the reasons this project has been so successful is the inclusive approach the project team and school administrators are taking with its implementation. It isn’t just the students who receive meditation instruction; teachers, staff and parents are also supported.
- Half an hour a week for each students group.
- Cultivate Silence. Daily for 20 minute during their reading session, also
they do it once a week during practice in the Silence Room.
Management, Administrators, Teachers and Parents
- Once a week with the students for 30 minutes.
- Once a month in the adults group for an hour.
- Once a month for 30 minutes.
ASSESSMENT OF HECAT SCHOOL PROJECT
73% of the students report they use the 3 Precious Spheres of Stillness, Silence and Space in everyday life situations, with their family, friends and classmates. Others reported using their Breathing, the Nine Breathing practice or some exercise from the Tsa Lung body movements.
Student Self-Reported Benefits:
Better concentration in tests
Emotion control such as avoid and diminish the anger
Feel calm, peace and relaxed
Be a better person
Harmony at home
“Meditation has created an atmosphere of self-understanding and expression among my students. In addition to being able to control body movement and awareness, they are focusing more easily in class. There is more harmony in the classroom.”
Academic Director Professor José de Jesús Cuellar
“I am pleasantly surprised at how the practice of meditation has helped children identify their emotions, stop for a moment and use the tools such as the sphere of Silence in order not to shout, Stillness to not react physically, and the Spaciousness of the mind to pause their thoughts. I see how the students use all this with their peers, parents, brothers, etc. It is very rewarding. The teachers and I, after practice, are calmer, clear headed, lighter, and released.”
General Director C.P. Rocio Guadalupe García Ortega
“I can concentrate on what I do every day and I have changed my way of behaving. If I take a deep breath I can relax faster and this helps me with my schoolwork. I have applied the 3 spheres when I’ve been working out an examination and also when I think about other things. I focus on a sphere and its easier resolve test questions; I am more focused.”
Citlali M., sixth grade, 12 years old
THE 3 DOORS MEDITATION IN EDUCATION TEAM
HECAT School Project Coordinator and Creator
3 Door Academy Graduate and Authorized Presenter
HECAT School Project Co-Creator
3 Door Academy Graduate and Authorized Presenter
Alejandro Chaoul Reich
HECAT School Project Mentor
3 Doors Academy Senior Teacher
José Antonio Ramos
HECAT School Project trainee
3 Doors Academy Graduate
ABOUT HECAT SCHOOL
Located in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico, HECAT (Hermandad Educativa CAT A.C.) was born out of the desire to improve our community, designing a program focused on families with limited resources who are looking for a quality education for their children. The mission of HECAT is to educate new generations by contributing to the reconstruction of the social fabric. HECAT is a non-profit school, where the schedule is extended with the intention to keep children protected in safe and secure spaces. Three daily meals are offered as well as meditation, bilingual education, sports, music, arts, and a school for parents and teachers to create and promote peace. There are currently 330 students and our projected growth is 1,200 students.
Founded in 2011 by the Advisors of the American College of Torreón; José Antonio Ramos Moreno, Chairman of the Council; Dr. Gerardo Rosas Villarreal, Treasurer; Darío Jiménez Berumen, Miguel Angel del Hoyo, Alberto Hermosillo Morales, President of the Board of Trustees, María del Pilar Revuelta Rivas, currently serving as Honorary Advisor in addition to Dr. Alberto Salas Cepeda current Chairman of the Council and Mrs. Isabel Nava de Rebollar current President of the Board of Trustees.