Stanford study advances posture and movement's link to thinking, with implications for education

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(NaturalNews) The Stanford School of Education reports that the difference in a person's innovative and creative thinking is substantial, depending on whether the person is sitting, standing or walking.

"Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why," Marilyn Oppezzo, M.S., R.D., Ph.D., and Daniel Schwartz, Ph.D., wrote in the study published this week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Seen from an interdisciplinary, historical perspective encompassing many hundred years, science has gone further than this before. A system for identifying changes in thoughts and states of mind which occur with varying one's physical position and movements is portrayed in yogic texts. Indeed, in some parts of advanced Vedic civilizations, this science was greatly valued and made into a central focus.

Movement and letting our youth grow up

Why shouldn't we expect our children today to discover the relationship between their mental abilities, emotional states and physical stances and movements for themselves? Even a baby's (seemingly frenetic) limb gesticulations are the nervous system and brain discovering their relationship to the body's parts and capabilities.

Thus, when an arithmetic student, or a writer in a critical thinking class, feels the need to change posture, take a walk outside or otherwise shift in body position, a civilization which claims to be advanced may want to highly value that student's need.

Not doing so may handicap that person's innovative capabilities -- the very opposite of the purpose of education. Furthermore, how many students who tilt their heads, bend and twist their body, and extend and retract their limbs in ways teachers have no training to understand are, instead of "unruly," actually very intelligent minds seeking to draw upon their full body-mind resources and deeply creative modes of thought as they seek out their fullest potential? Perhaps the young have innate wisdom about the physical movement necessities for their cognitive-creative development into innovators and fully aware beings.

It will take everything we've got to thrive today

Imagine today's youth. Their flexible minds are grappling with the demands of not only loads of homework, but more information than any generation has ever processed before. Plus, they are privy to observe the hypocritical madness of the world, through media and democratized discourse, more than any generation before.

Young people's brains, I declare, are being pushed to the limits, which is saying a lot for the most complex and brilliant organ ever known to have evolved in the universe.

Thus, of course students want to move. They should be, and seem to be (whether they call it "yoga" or not), drawing upon the yogic sciences of body poses and mental states more than any generation in memory. When kids, and employees in fact, want to move around to help their nervous systems fully develop and increase performance, perhaps this saying is in order: "If you can't help a good idea, get out of its way."

Our job, as adults and role models, may be to bring more yoga and yoga awareness (said another way, freedom, exploration and awareness in moving the body and expanding its potential) into places where the young, and not-so-young, are developing their creativity -- home, relatives' homes, workplaces, even certain sports and, yes, schools.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Michael Bedar MA, BS, is the co-founder of He is a writer of both nonfiction and allegories. As a researcher, writer, holistic wellness counselor, certified Live-Food Nutrition Counselor, and filmmaker, he is the associate producer with a founding role in the documentary, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and is the writer-director of "EcoParque." Bedar, who studied Cognitive Science and Environmental Chemistry, teaches meditation weekly in the San Francisco Bay Area, and supports people to benefit in their wellness through nutrition support, juice cleanses, and counseling. He has a master's in Live-Food Nutrition from the Cousens School of Holistic Wellness, is a minister, and is co-director of Tree of Life - Bay Area.

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