As a teacher of Yoga and Meditation in the corperate world, I was sometimes asked to teach Meditation at school camps. Calm the students before exams and introduce techniques students can use to center themselves. My job, to create a quiet oasis, a mental haven,and teach people and students to go into this space when they feel overwhelmed. We all have the best intentions to set time aside, time to meditate daily, after all we have read the research, Universities and medical studies have proven the benefits, football teams, basket ball stars and people from all walks of life use meditation as stress relief .
How to bring this to study and the ease of passing exams?
We all know the heart stopping, stomach churning feeling when we approach aspects of life that are unsettling and very uncomfortable, like exam times.
Anxiety stops us absorbing and retaining information.
Being anxious tightens muscles as we enter the fight, flight or freeze phase, which means the brain sends adrenalin to the bodies muscles, the digestive system shuts down and all of the messages in the body go back to the cave man brain, of survival, stand and fight or run for your life. None of these will allow you to sit still, read the paper in front of you, recall information and answer the exam questions.
Fear, failure or success, all the same it is fear.Will I pass this exam?
The brain releases and floods the body with the endorphins that are created by stress, fear or pain. For an experiment sit still and just picture your self entering the classroom prior to an exam, notice how your heart rate has increased, you blood pressure will be elevated and possibly your stomach is starting to churn, tighten. Now we change this by harnessing the power of the subconscious mind. The area of the brain that works with pictures. This works by creating you own mental retreat and will stop the fear mind pattern.
Now picture something pleasurable, a place were you feel safe and happy.
See the image in your minds eye, feel the sun on your shoulders or smell the grass and flowers, perhaps you are by the sea, lying in a hammock slung between palm trees. You smell the salt air, listen for the song of sea birds over head and allow the warm breeze to lift through your hair.
Or try centering yourself by being aware of your feet flat on the floor.
Feel your buttocks on the chair, the weight of your body, feel your thighs resting on the seat. Straighten your spine and deepen your breath.
No one need notice that you are taking control of your mind, stilling your heart and allowing the endorphins that relax you to flood into the blood stream. All this takes a mere minute or two. With practice you can do this sitting as the exam papers are being handed out.
Before we are meditator’s we need to learn to relax. And visualisation opens the vistas in the brain allowing us to embrace the spaces in our lives. Glance at a night-time sky, rest your eyes during the day on a sunlit sky, watch clouds bank up and dissipate, create an internal sense of space. And after successfully completing your exams you will wish to deepen this experience into the deeper stillness of meditation. Remember we are just a mirror of the macrocosm, the greater joy and space that surrounds and unites us.