Alumna on a Mission to Improve Student Mindfulness with Meditation Practice
As a participant in the Blue Zones effort in Dodge County, Wayland’s deliberate practice of mindfulness and mediation aligns with the Blue Zones Power Nine Habit to downshift or adopt routines that help to reduce stress and the effects of stress on longevity.
Wayland Academy has been putting mindfulness to work throughout the campus. Each Monday as part of the all school assembly students are invited to become comfortable, soften their gaze, and focus on their breathing as science department chair and Wayland alumna Beth Ratajczak `96 guides students and staff through a meditation. During one session participants may simply focus on breathing, while in later sessions they may be invited to consider people they love or how to create welcoming supportive places within their lives that day.
Mrs. Ratajczak began practicing yoga a few years ago during athletic training. She came to appreciate the mindfulness aspect. Aside from the Monday Mindfulness sessions, she conducts weekly meditations in her science classrooms and helps the Wayland athletic teams through yoga and visualization practices. Ratajczak completed educator training through Breathe For Change. The organization was founded in 2015 and by the end of 2017 six-hundred educators were certified in cities across the United States. She is also pursuing a Master of Education degree with an emphasis in mindfulness from Antioch University.