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Mind/Body Connection Infused Learning: An Influential Contributor to Education, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1031

Research Paper

Abstract

This work in writing examines the mind-body connection in the area of learning. Examined is the impact of exercise on the brain and on the learning experience of the individual.

Introduction

According to Giordano (nd) in a work published by the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute “Sensations, movements, emotions and brain integrative functions are grounded in the body. The brain is housed in our skulls and is in constant communication with the rest of our body. Thinking and learning however are not only in our head. Our body plays an integral part in our intellectual processes, because it is our body’s senses that feed our brain with environmental information from which we later form understandings of our world around us. Our movements help facilitate greater cognitive function.” Giordano holds that optimal thinking makes a requirement of “movement’ and that there is plenty of evidence to strongly support “the connection between movement and learning. Evidence from imaging sources, anatomical studies and clinical data shows that moderate exercise enhances cognitive processing. It also increases the number of brain cells in rodents.” (Giordana, nd)

Norman D. Livergood writes in the work entitled “Brain, Mind and Altered States of Consciousness” that it was demonstrated in the work of neuroanatomist, Marian Diamond that when rats were raised in environments that were “enriched” in nature that there was: (1) an increase in the cerebral cortex thickness; (2) the size of individual neurons in the cortex increased 15% in protein which paralleled the cortical weight increases showing the effect on growth was on fluid content in addition to tissue in the brain; (3) Dendritic branching increases occurred; (4) there was an increase in the number of dendritic spines per unit length of dedrine; (5) increases occurred int eh number of synapses and in the synaptic contact area size; (6) an increase in the ratio between the weight of the cortex and the weight of the rest of the brain; and (7) a 15 percent increase in the number of glial cells. (Livergood, nd)

Study on brain stimulation and neurofeedback  has demonstrated the fact that the performance of human beings “…can be deliberately improved through environmental, biochemical, and psychophysiological manipulation of the brain and mind.” (Livergood, nd) It is reported that the brain is “…electrically powered and electricity-generating organ. Composed of an estimated one hundred billion neurons, each neuron produces and transmits electrical impulses, which travel from the cell body down long fibers called axons until they reach a junction, or synapse, with another neuron. At the junction point, the electrical impulses fire chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, across the synaptic gap to receptors on the next cell. Having received the message, that neuron then generates its own electrical impulse and sends it to other neurons to which it is connected. Each neuron can be connected to thousands of other neurons, each simultaneously sending and receiving impulses to and from thousands of other neurons–so one neuron can electrically alter millions of other neurons.” (Livergood, nd) It is reported that mind/body science “originates from ancient healing practices, yet is still active in modern medical treatment.MBS approaches include professional clinical hypnosis, healing and cures through suggestion, imagination, imagery, expectancy and the self-determination and motivation of the patient. Medical science has demonstrated the power of the mind over the body through practice of mediation, yoga, and other methods of mind/body connecting.” (Aquadios, 2011) Today there are technological applications that serve to connect the mind and body resulting in powerful healing abilities for those who use these techniques. (Aquadios, 2011, paraphrased)

It is reported that an ancient practice known as Yoga originates 5,000 years ago in India and was used as an exercise program for both the mind and body, which would serve, to “…prolong life, enhance health and promote personal freedom.” (WFTV. 2011) Yoga teaches the student to respect and care for their physical body and teaches the individual to “harmonize the body and the mind.” (WFTV, 2011) Yoga is reported to be comprised of “three distinct structures of exercise.” (WFTV, 2011) An ancient scholar, Patajali wrote the Yoga Sutras or the ‘eight limbs of Yoga’. One of these ‘limbs’ is that of Pratyahara with “involves the withdrawal of the mind from the sense” which prepares the individual for meditation. (WFTV, 2011) Pratyahara involves the withdrawal of “cognition and action from both the external world and the images or impressions in the mind field.” (Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Master, nd) Routine practice of pratyahara results in the individual “gradually gain[ing] positive control over the mind being obsessively drawn towards” physical objects. (Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Master, nd) It was reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology (2000) that a study conducted demonstrated that prior to enrolling in the trial and four months later, the cognitive abilities of the participants were tested in four areas: memory, executive functioning, attention/concentration and psychomotor speed.” The study found that “exercise had its beneficial effect in specific areas of cognitive function that are rooted in the frontal and prefrontal regions of the brain.” (Resources for Science Learning, 2004)

Bibliography | Reference

Begley, S. (2007). Train your mind, change your brain: how a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves. New York, New York: Ballantine Books.

Cullen, L. (2006). How to get smarter, one breath at a time: scientists find that meditation not only reduces stress but also reshapes the brain. Time, 167([2]), 93. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Giordano, Larissa (nd) The Mind-Body Connection. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/2008/6/08.06.05.x.html

Hyland, T. (2010). Mindfulness, adult learning and therapeutic education: integrating the cognitive and affective domains of learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 29(5), 517-532. doi:10.1080/02601370.2010.512792

Livergood, Norman D. (nd) Brain, Mind, and Altered States of Consciousness. Retrieved from: http://www.hermes-press.com/altstates.htmMcKeachie, W. J. (1990).

Research on college teaching: The historical background. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(2), 189-189-200. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.82.2.189

Mind Body Science/ Mind Body Medicine (2011) AquaDios/AquaDios-Med. Retrieved from: http://www.aquadios.com/mbs.html

Mind-Body Connection: Yoga and Your Mood (2011) WFTV.com. Retrieved from: http://www.wftv.com/health/27356195/detail.html

Rangan, R., Nagendra, H., & Bhat, G. (2009). Effect of yogic education system and modern education system on memory. International Journal of Yoga, 2(2), 55-55-61. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.60045

Yoga Sutras 2.54-2.55: Pratyahara or Sense of Withdrawal, Run #5 of 8. Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters. Retrieved from: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-25455.htm

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