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What Is Contemplative Education?

Students and alumni describe Naropa’s learning approach.

What is contemplative education

There is a deeper inquiry into who the student is, 
and a stronger student teacher relationship that really supports the student becoming who they want to be. —B. Lorimer

Instead of studying something in a void, you're bringing yourself into the material and diffusing the void and making the material graspable and tangible. It’s not just heady; it’s very much in your body and in your emotional world. —A. King

This contemplative aspect really does enrich the education because it makes it relevant to your life. It’s not as static as it is if you're just listening to somebody lecture, but it’s really taken into who you are. —N. Michael

It starts with little minor rituals like the bow when we start a class, or a meditative moment at the beginning, so that you can really ground in the space so that you're really ready to receive the learning. —J. Poussot

it feels more like a circle instead of a line


Contemplative education to me is a lived experience. There is academics. There is thought. There is mind. But underneath all that, there is a foundation of contemplative practice that brings the body back in. We're asked to feel. We're asked to be authentic. We're asked to dive in deep. —K. Talley

Contemplative education brings the power back to the students. To be able to take your education and weave it into your personal experience and become something that's much more integrated than just something that you memorized in your brain. —S. Dallmus


contemplative education
Photo by Claudia Lopez.


Contemplative education means that every part of the person is invited into the room. It means that nothing is off the table from being able to be talked about and discovered. —D. Covelli

Contemplative education is more of a sense of holistic education and including all aspects of the human experience within a learning environment. Feelings are just as welcome as thoughts, somatic experiences, sounds, ideas—it feels more like a circle instead of a line. —G. Slocum