By Aishwarya Kadam, Contributor
Have you ever been to a class which begins with meditation and yoga? Have you been enrolled in a course which teaches you how to manage stress and increase creativity?
The English department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has designed an interdisciplinary course known as “The Mindful Student” which has a perfect blend of traditional and non-traditional elements. The course focuses on helping students manage stress through yoga and meditation and thereby increase creativity.
English professor Kim Schwab, who is also working on the last stage of her 500-hour yoga teacher training certificate program, is the person behind the development of this course.
“There is a big move across the country in mindfulness and what it means to be able to bring your full attention to something in a world where there is so much distraction,” Schwab said.
“This course is about learning how to react to stress skillfully,” she said. “I want to help students understand, different ways to skillfully handle stressful situations through yoga philosophies and meditation. We also discuss Graham Wallas’ four stages of creativity, namely preparation, incubation, illumination and verification.”
Although this three-credit course was designed for freshmen, anyone can enroll. Schwab has had all levels of students in her class, some even in their final semester.
“So far, I plan to offer it each semester,” Schwab said. “As long as students are interested in it and keep signing up, I’m happy. I love teaching this course as it involves my passion for yoga and English literature.”
Schwab emphasizes mental health and relaxation for all students.
“Make sure you take care of yourself first,” Schwab said. “And that means taking quiet time alone for you that isn’t interrupted by phones, or other people or homework or anything else. Take some time out in nature and find a space that you can call your own. You will surely benefit from it.”
Apart from the course, there is a new group on campus called “The Mindful Student Organization,” which meets twice a month on Friday afternoons at 1 p.m. to share information about mindfulness with students. They also meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 5 p.m. for group meditation.