The importance of emphasizing wellness for art students can’t be understated. That’s why health is an integral part of the curriculum at most arts-integrated schools across the country.
In gaining an understanding of the relationship between physical and mental health, students are able to develop a balanced wellness.
As such, this course teaches students how to recognize the primary ways their bodies perform physically in order to better connect to how they feel mentally.
Wellness for Art Students Is Key to Success
The health and wellness aspect integrates the state standards of health education and physical education. It’s a truly comprehensive system that encourages understanding the principles of good health and knowledge that lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Throughout the year, the “Calm Classroom” approach is introduced to help improve focus and enable students to cultivate peaceful, engaged classrooms and school communities. This is done by not only encouraging movement and exercise but also by empowering students and teachers with mindfulness skills that support mental and emotional well-being.
In addition, there are classroom discussions, and journaling to experience and practice balance in both mental and physical health.
Students engage in activities that may include the following:
The traditional yoga practice was established thousands of years ago. The westernization of the practice has focused predominantly on the physical aspect. And the poses go a long way in perfecting posture, releasing tension, strengthening muscles, increasing energy, and promoting focus.
But it’s also an amazing mental and emotional practice that teaches practitioners to be aware, still, and present in the moment. The ability to access this state is invaluable to artists – as it is fertile ground for creativity.
By practicing the calming effects of breath along with the postures, students are able to ease the distractions of the mind and tune inward to the places where inspiration often dwells.
Going hand-in-hand with yoga is the practice of mindful meditation. Although mindfulness has become a buzzword of late, meditation has also been practiced for thousands (if not longer) of years.
There is a transformative and transcendent state achieved through meditation which serves the creative process. The ability to notice one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment and criticism is freeing and expansive.
In the simplest of terms, meditation helps quiet the monkey mind. So when artists are stuck overthinking their work and need some clarity and peace of mind, meditation is the perfect tool. And it can be done nearly anywhere and at any time.
Yes, dance is its own art form and exists as a specific discipline in an arts academy curriculum. But when it’s used as a component of health and wellness, it’s more freeform. When students are able to move freely and as needed, it’s tremendously therapeutic.
Free-flowing dance allows students to get out of their minds while giving their bodies healthy movement. Muscles stretch, energy flows, and areas of the body holding emotions are able to release. It’s powerful somatic healing.
And as this energy finds new ways to express itself, there is more room for shifts and transformation that feed the artistic mind.
4. Tai Chi
The life of an artist is both mentally and physically demanding. Their minds are taxed with staying focused and inspired, while repetitive physical movements can strain the body.
Like yoga, the martial art known as tai chi focuses on correct posture to strike a balance of stillness while in movement. Many consider tai chi as “active meditation.” This doesn’t quite do it justice though. It’s a practice that, paradoxically, requires discipline and training to remain centered and relaxed.
Over time, however, students who practice tai chi learn the tenets of visualization, memorization, a clear mind, rhythmic flow, creative expression, and being in touch with the inner self. All of these lend beautifully to creating art.
Of course, sometimes it just feels good to release frustration. Especially as teenagers growing up in a challenging world. Kickboxing is great for just that. Along with the major cardio workout that comes with kicking, jabbing, and crossing, students also gain flexibility, speed, and agility.
And here’s the kicker (excuse the bad pun) – it’s a lot of fun. Plus, the powerful tension-releasing movements and techniques create a boost of confidence that stretches out to all aspects of a student’s life.
6. Cross Training
Cross-training as physical exercise is an effective way to condition different muscle groups and develop new skills. It also puts the kibosh on the boredom of repeating the same exercise routines over and over again. Cross-training achieves overall fitness while keeping the movement from becoming dull. It also reduces the risk of injury from overuse.
(On a separate but relevant note, there is a similar process called creative cross-training wherein artists are encouraged to venture outside their area of expertise and dip into other disciplines for the same reasons.)
Curious About an Arts-Integrated Education?
Being a creative person is no walk in the park. Straying from the norm is often met with resistance.
So if your creative child is struggling with conventional education and you think he/she/they would thrive in an arts-integrated environment, contact us today to take a tour of our school.
We offer a full arts-integrated curriculum that goes beyond the necessary subjects and focuses on health and wellness for art students as well. Because without physical and emotional wellness, there can be no art.