Prior's Field September 2018

Yoga and Mindfulness – Its benefit during lockdown

Published Tuesday 30th of June 2020 05:28:55 PM

For some time now yoga and mindfulness have been used to quiet the mind and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Combined they work towards allowing a deeper connection to both body and mind, leading to an understanding of the self. They help you to tune into your breath, be aware of bodily sensations, and to be present in the moment. Nic Curtis, Assistant Head of Lower School at Kingswood Senior School talks about her passion for Yoga and Mindfulness and how it has benefitted her during the lockdown. “I have always been interested in the human body and mind relationship. Hence my chosen career path in physical education and movement. My early career was dominated by competitive participation, particularly in netball. My personal journey was driven by a desire to improve my game and it centred around being at my physical peak as well as having the psychological edge over my competitors. These experiences sparked my passion for psychology and human behaviour. Almost 20 years later that passion remains strong in my teaching and pastoral work. I remain dedicated to my role as a PE teacher but increasingly I am drawn to helping students with their mental health and well-being. I love reading around the topic of positive psychology, adolescence and the teenage brain. I am particularly interested in supporting young adults as they navigate their way through adolescence. I joined Kingswood School as Head of Academic PE in 2016. I am very proud to be part of a school that places such a high importance on the pastoral care that it provides for its students. Two years ago the school gave me the opportunity to contribute further to this aspect of the school through Mindfulness and Yoga teacher training. It has been an amazing couple of years in which I have met some of the most incredible people who are forging the way ahead for mental health and wellbeing in young people. During my Mindfulness teacher training I had the privilege of meeting Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen, the co-creators of the highly acclaimed Mindfulness in Schools Project. I also completed my Yoga training with the founder of the Teen Yoga Movement, Carlotta Martinus - who has been supporting Kingswood with its staff and pupil wellbeing programme for a number of years. She lives locally and has offered support and guidance in my quest to become the best teen yoga teacher I can be. The most important lesson I have learned from all of my training is that to truly support young adults with their self-care I must be present and committed to my own self-care. To be able to help others I need to be grounded and have a daily practice that nourishes and supports me. During the lockdown I have deepened my understanding of both Mindfulness meditation and yoga and this has brought me a sense of peace and calm, despite all the uncertainty surrounding me. I have noticed with daily practice I am more present and available to others and this in turn makes me feel grateful for all of the wonderful people I know and happy for the life I share with my husband and two sons. My new found love requires work like any therapy and practice like any skill. It isn’t a shortcut and courses only set the scene, but I find it enjoyable and rewarding. Most of all I find it brings some peace into my life. I am so passionate about the benefits of mindfulness and yoga and I am incredibly grateful to the school for also recognising there is a place for these activities in an educational setting. In my role as the Assistant Head of Lower School I have been given the opportunity to continue this work and help the Westwood students prepare for adulthood. I only wish I had started my mindfulness and yoga journey when I was a teenager”. Our Lower School encompasses all our pupils in Years 7 and 8. We are also known as Westwood because all pupils use Westwood House as their base and home-away-from-home for the first two years of their schooling at Kingswood. With some 160 day pupils and 40 boarders, the House is always busy and full of life! Nic is part of a dedicated team who ensure that each pupil has the opportunity to thrive throughout the different areas of school life.
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