Two Brothers, One City: Can Mindful Moments Help My Back Pain & Beyond?

This program is the genius of two West Baltimore brothers who take an unconventional approach to education that ends up making a difference — in more ways than one.

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Meditation allows you to gain control over ailments that have long had control over you and your quality of life. What meditation does that pain medications can’t do is address in a real and practical way the psychological and social aspects of pain.   

A Maryland elementary school replaced detention with meditation and guess what? It worked!

When the bell rings, it’s time for class but it’s not your regular day at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore. The administration is putting old punishment tactics to rest and introducing an entirely new atmosphere to education — “Mindful Moments” is what they call it. Two times a day, over 300 students participate in the mediation program, which is a mixture of yoga and meditation.

It’s not your typical yoga class and we believe that’s what makes this so special.


“They actually taught the students how to redirect that negative energy into something positive,” spoke Principal Carillian Thompson.

In a not so surprising turn of events, Thompson also revealed, “We’ve had zero suspensions.”

If a student engages in physical aggression towards another student or does something out of line, no more are the days of being sent to the principal to hear how awful you are. Instead, they are sent to “mindful me”, which is a specific area of the school dedicated to conflict resolution. The staff gently guides the students to resolve their differences peacefully and to learn from their mistakes.

“We’re teaching kids at a young age to try to really make a change in our community as far as how conflicts are resolved,” said Atman Smith, co-founder of Holistic Life Foundation.

This program is the genius of Ali and Atman Smith, brothers who know firsthand the violence and aggression that is West Baltimore and how a different approach can really make a difference — in more ways than one.

“Because if they were about the past, it brings about anger or if they worry about the future, it causes anxiety,” the Smith brothers said. “And these techniques kind of make you focus on the present, which that’s all there really is.”

Back Pain Prevention

Students are also learning how to maintain proper posture and breathe correctly, which as you guys can probably guess, will go a long way when it comes to back pain prevention.

Good posture — seen in the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, or pulling — is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Prolonged standing, sitting or driving can cause back pain and make doing any of those activities uncomfortable. Poor posture can even misaligned and injure your spine and cause other back-related health problems.


Meditation allows you to gain control over ailments that have long had control over you and your quality of life. What meditation does that pain medications can’t do is address in a real and practical way the psychological and social aspects of pain.

Meditation can treat pain from every level and it diminishes the anxiety surrounding pain, which leaves those with chronic back pain happier, feeling more in control and less emotionally connected to their pain. Can I sign up?

But in all seriousness, this program is not only doing wonders for the actual school but society as a whole. Take notes, people.

“There’s violence going on in the neighborhoods, there’s drug abuse in the neighborhoods, so it’s just, there are all these things just getting dumped on these kids and they need a way to kind of deal with it,” said Ali Smith.

The Smith brothers are not ending here and we don’t intend to stop them. Talking big picture stuff, they are aspiring to influence 14 schools in the Baltimore area alone that will reach over 4,000 kids.

If we can teach our younger generation about the importance of mindful meditation as well as back pain prevention, maybe by the time, they are adults, we could permanently erase back pain? High hopes, we know but at least, it’s a step in the right direction.

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