The SNU community is often subjected to heavy workloads in academics and research which can wear out the mind and body. While many resolve this through activities such as leisurely hikes on the Gwanak Mountains or work-outs at the many gyms on the SNU campus, another interesting relaxation method is available.
The ‘Mind and Body Health Enhancement Program’ is a popular program which has been available for many years, designed by Professor GO Sang-geun (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering). This program, which enables healing of the mind and the body while emphasizing flexibility, utilizes the “Alexander Technique,” an educational process that helps people obtain an optimal physical posture during rest and motion (such as using the neck and back muscles correctly when walking) by rectifying a lifetime of bad physical habits, and the autogenic training technique, a visualization technique (such as fifteen minutes of mental visualization of soothing images) that induces mental relaxation.
Professor GO Sang-geun is also in charge of the Leadership Development course which is a twelve week activity-based learning program for students that involves professional training to help students develop vision and improve their management, communication and presentation skills. How did he come to establish such healing programs? What were his influences? These are some of the questions that will be explored in the interview.
I was curious about how the program, which caters to your fellow professors, faculty, and students, was established.
The main lectures that I provide for my fellow professors are the autogenic training technique, and the “Alexander Technique,” while I teach the Leadership Development course for SNU students. Ever since my youth, I had vague hopes of growing up to become a spiritual guide. I have always had a yearning for the transcendental and was interested in the mental culture of meditation, the practice of calming one’s mind. I was also impressed and deeply influenced by Dale Carnegie. And that led me to seek instruction of the Carnegie Leadership Training method from a private institution in 2005. Using the knowledge that I acquired, I began to teach SNU students the Leadership Development course. As an instructor of the Carnegie method, I received positive feedback, and have since been instructing students as I believe it aids in the enrichment of the university.
Your Leadership Development course has an unusual focal point for a leadership course. What is your definition of true leadership?
I believe that leadership seminars can aid in the healing of an individual’s mind and body. I feel that true leadership stems from flexibility. Unfortunately, many people evaluate success according to merit and SNU is no exception. The leadership that I have in mind involves more emphasis on freedom on the leading process, happiness, and relaxation. The program explores the duality and unity of reason and emotion, mind and body, which aids in the holistic development of an individual.
The response from the professors and the students who have participated in your program is extremely positive. Is there any particular instance that has left a mark on you?
I remember a fellow professor who regularly participated in my program. Unfortunately, when he first participated, he was a lung cancer patient who had just completed his surgery and was taught the autogenic training technique and the “Alexander Technique.” Today, he has made a complete recovery and is still participating in my program. He claims that the program has helped improve his health and enriched his life. When I reflect on such cases, I feel pride at my work and it gives me much pleasure and encouragement to continue.
How do you yourself take care of your physical and mental health?
If I had a healing method, I would say it is the instruction of my students and fellow professors for the Mind and Body Health Enhancement Program. I believe that my role as an instructor is extremely beneficial to my health as it ensures constant attempts on my part to expand my understanding of health. If I myself am not proficient, how could I hope to share my knowledge with others? Thus, the programs are not unilateral, and much active participation is required from both the student and the instructor. Therefore, the health program provides mutual benefit which leads to improved health for all.
If there are any programs, or goals that you hope to accomplish in the future, please describe them.
The focal point of my programs is emphasis on focusing on the present. This may seem like an abstract concept, but it simply means to be mindful, viewing the world as it is, without assessing it, and avoiding attachments. Through my program, I want to raise awareness in my students that the process is more important than the results. In doing so, I hope for the collective enhancement of the mind and body of the SNU community.
*The Center for Campus Life and Culture, located in the SNU Student Center provides various health enhancement programs for the SNU community. For more details, visit the site: http://snucounsel.snu.ac.kr/
Article translated: http://www.snu.ac.kr/news?bm=v&bbsidx=121694 by BANG Jun-Hui (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Written by JUN Taehoon, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Eli Park Sorensen, SNU Professor of Liberal Studies, email@example.com