Amy Fidler, Lecturer, Bowling Green State University
Incorporating a few moments of simple yoga postures (asanas) and/or breathing techniques (pranayama) into traditional design studio classes can help students focus on their design solutions, reframe the energy within the classroom and promote inspiration. Distracted, worn-down and frazzled students are becoming the baseline due to many outside factors. Overall work suffers, despite increasingly complex demands expected of the designer of 2025. Yoga’s benefits for creative thinking are well-documented, can promote inspiration, and reframe thinking, while allowing students to problem-solve from a place of calm confidence rather than last-minute panic. Even though yoga is over 2000 years old, use in traditional western classrooms, especially at the college level, is new. This workshop will introduce strategies to include yoga as an intentional part of your curriculum, creating an innovative learning space without any additional resources or funding needed.
Everyone can benefit from the sensory inputs, nervous system calming/regulation and physical toning, stretching and strengthening of yoga. Within the limits of a design studio class there isn’t much time to achieve the physical toning/strengthening that would be acquired through a longer practice, although profound physical benefits can still be achieved in a short duration. Possibly more importantly, by regularly incorporating regular brief physical practice and meditation, people with any range of attention issues, impulsivity, executive functioning challenges and sensory issues can benefit, unlocking the potential for stronger ideas, innovative problem solving and a settled, more-focused classroom dynamic. Discussion of how to build student trust and acceptance of these methods (including reluctant/skeptical students), and adaptive methods for students with physical disabilities will also be addressed.
During this 1 hr workshop, attendees are invited to participate and try yoga poses and meditation methods that are beneficial within the limitations of a design studio classroom or lab, and learn how to integrate them into the studio routine. No yoga experience or equipment is needed.
• Basic introduction to yoga theory
• Overview of yoga asanas that work well within the design studio classroom/lab
• Demonstration of poses and meditation styles
• Question and Answer
• Intention setting creative exercise
Note: The author is a 200-hr certified yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance and is currently working on her 500-hr certification.