Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09
Mentor: Kimble Humiston
Title: The Art of Healing
Throughout high school I would constantly hear about the infamous Senior Project. After three years of watching other seniors go through the process, it was finally my turn. I looked at all of the interests I had acquired over the last three years. The two most prominent topics that came to me were psychology and the study of different cultures, but I struggled at finding common ground between the two. I chose Yoga and meditation to be the bridge because they are a traditional practice, intertwined within eastern cultures. I found that the aspiration of yoga and meditation is to heal, and through the healing process, to reach pure consciousness. My goal was to understand how yoga and meditation heal psychologically, physically and spiritually, and demonstrate my understanding of this through a detailed paper. This project has had an essential effect on my life and I have learned indispensable knowledge; yoga and meditation will most definitely continue to be a part of my life.
My first idea for senior project was to do something based off of my modernity project, I wanted to do something working with kids over the summer to raise money for an organization. However once the summer came around, my ideas started to change. I wanted something more academic to do, rather than planning an event. As I thought about it two main interests came to my head, psychology and cultural studies. I wanted to combine the two, some how I came across yoga, I thought that it would be the perfect bridge because Yoga has such a traditional, ancient cultural aspect, as well as psychological affects. My original intent for this project was to write a paper on The history of yoga and the basics of yoga, then I wanted to have a book that depicted different yoga poses and meditations that could be done for a specific psychological or physical need.
Once I started researching and getting into my project, I realized that my focus shouldnÕt only be the psychological aspects of yoga. Through my research I realized that the aspiration of yoga was to reach enlightenment, and that the process of reaching this enlightenment healed the body, psychologically, physically and spiritually. I wanted to make my project about these three aspects and how this process formed. My final outcome was going to be a paper with the historical roots of yoga, the physical aspects of yoga, the psychological aspects of yoga and the spiritual results of yoga. Then I decided instead of making a separate book, I would combine the paper and the book and use the pictures to support my paper.
The process of reaching my final product was long and tedious at times. It started with simply practicing yoga techniques with Megan once a week and taking yoga as a wellness with Sheryl four days a week. I also started researching, this was a huge part of my project because I wanted many different sources, websites, books and people, I even looked for some videos on yoga but I wasnÕt successful. Once I had gathered enough information I felt ready to write the paper, I decided to make an outline and from that outline write individual papers from each of the topics, that way I could put a full effort into each part of the paper and combine them all at the end. The editing of this paper was probably the worst part, because I didnÕt realize how much editing would need to be done, it took four rewrites to reach the final product. Mainly the issues were because of grammar, but there were also a few sentences that needed to be reworded. The images were the last part that needed to be worked on to finalize my paper. When I had the images taken of me I wasnÕt able to find a place in my house that was just a plane wall, no matter where I went there was always something in the background that distracted the viewer from the main image. I had to use Photoshop to erase the background in all of my images.
This happened to be one of my challenges because I had never used Photoshop before. I started out just messing around with the images myself and some of them worked out, some of them looked a little funny. I ended up getting help from Urban in the end because I wanted the images to be perfect. Other challenges included not having a mentor in the beginning because I was unsure of which project I was going to do, and even once I had decided I wasnÕt given a mentor until three weeks into the project. Once having a mentor a challenge was finding a time to meet and go over my project. Kimble Humiston became my mentor and because he is a core teacher, he always had to teach a class when I had senior project time. Our scheduleÕs were always conflicting when he had lunch I had a class, when I had study hall he had a class and it was very confusing, we worked through it though and were able to find a time to meet once a week after school. Another major challenge was communicating with outside people. For my project I really wanted to have sources that were people who had experience with yoga, two people specifically, Gary Kraftson and Zack Dauck. Both are yoga practitioners and are very experienced in the field of yoga, however both are very busy. When I emailed Zack Dauck I never even got a reply. Gary KraftsonÕs assistant emailed me but not until months after I had emailed her and even then her email was very helpful. In the end I wasnÕt able to use either of these people as a source, however I did get to use Kimble and Megan as a source so I was able to get information from personal experiences.
Finally and commonly time management was a challenge for me. I have always been bad with procrastination but in the project I believe I overcame that, I met all of the deadlines that were due with out having to stress. The only time that this was a problem for me was at the end, I hadnÕt realized how much editing my paper would, because I had never written a paper like this before. I ended up not leaving enough time to edit it, although I was rushed I got the editing all done and for the future I now know how much time to leave in order to comfortable edit a thirty two page research paper.
Aside from learning yoga techniques and poses I also learned how to use computer programs, Photoshop and Microsoft Word. It was the first time I had ever used Photoshop and now I know how to navigate through that program. With Microsoft Word, I had already known how to use it, but not to itÕs full potential. Devon Parks showed me how to use the bibliography tool and I learned short cuts to pace and cut and do other fun things like that. I also learned how to plan out my time more efficiently and to make sure I leave enough room in the end for extra uncertainties that may occur. Finally I learned how to write and edit a formal research paper. I learned the style and format that it must be in and how to write the bibliography in a MLA format.
Yoga will defiantly become apart of my future. I have found through this project, that yoga is a way of life. ItÕs a philosophy that can be used to help daily situations and conflicts and if constantly practiced can overall increase your health. I plan to apply the information I have attained from this experience and my knowledge of yoga philosophy to my life, to help me grow as a person. As for being a yoga practitioner, I am undecided but it is a definite possibility in my near future.
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Community Member (Details)
Is a Local Yoga practitioner who leads private yoga sessions. She is a part time Yoga teacher at The Ross School and her own CD. All songs sung in a mantra format by her.
I was able to meet with Megan once a week to go over yoga techniques with her.
She viewed my product two
times, once in during the editing process and then again she viewed the final
product, when my paper was finished.