Universidade Sénior de Oeiras

Uso- Senior University Oeiras –   Arlete Rodrigues

I´m a teacher in USO since 2004. Every year I create and apply thematic projects for the Disciplinary Area: Brain, Balance and Well-Being. I´m focused on Educational Sciences and Lifelong Education. I see Adult Education as an opportunity to produce new evolutionary forms that respect the singularity of the elderly. I´m involved and interested in discovering the dynamic that generate a “Community of Generations”.

Good Pratices: projects, experiences and exercises (See pictures attached)

1. The art of muscle the Brain: Mirror Images exercise

  • Use intention to engage the 3 centers (the moving center, the emotional center and intellectual center). Become aware of people, place and time.
  • Quiet the mind and synchronize the group: Each participant create a gesture que that will be repeated using the pattern REST-MOVEMENT- REST.
  • Reproduce a mirror image.

2. Pondering exercise: Create meaning with three brains

To bring intentionality for studying and balance of the three centers (intellectual, emotional center and moving centers) I use Pondering: first a new relevant to the moment is brought by a participant or the coordinator. After dialogue one or more questions are raised. Then, three chairs are placed in front of the group and three participants are invited expressing their opinion by making a comment according to the following rule: The first person only can start sentences by “ I THINK…”; the second by- “I FEEL…” and the third by- “THE EXPERIENCE TELLS ME THAT…”The participants  intervene in that order and continuously.

3. Theater and Body in Verney Gallery: Model Change in Encephaloland

Since 2009 we started to present “Encephaloland Community”[1]. Introducing different characters, the students become familiar with the main functions of the brain.

At the end of each academic year, with this “ theater” the students can absorb a kind of guide to improve their cerebral functions. In the photos we can see:

  • The teacher is monitorizing the music. One student presents the “Encephaloland Community” in which we can find metaphors for the human behavior.
  • A student acts as Mariazinha Almond: The Brain Amygdale.
  • Here we can see the Brain Amygdale act wih Sabino Hippocampus.

4. Song and Music in class

Two students surprise colleagues presenting an original song where they put all topics covered in class during the period. They write the chorus on the board. And they present the song in the three groups of the students (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). All students sang together the chorus.

5. Visits to exhibitions

5.1. Visit to Paula Rego´s exhibition in House of Stories: ”Looking Inside”.

The students of two classes: “Brain, Balance and Well-Being” and “Art of Living” visited this exhibition. It allowed a significant encounter with the recorded visceral memories (Insula)

5.2. Pavilion of Knowledge: The students of two classes: “Brain, Balance and Well- Being” and “Art of Living” visited a scientific exhibition de Giulia Enders ”The secret life of the intestines”. It stems from the recent importance given to the enteric brain, now called the 2nd brain[2]. Our practices have already included it and now, gratefully, the Science states and recognizes it.


[1] K. Nunn, T. Hanstock and B. Lask ( 2008). Who’s Who of the Brain

[2] A. Damásio (2017). The strandge order of things – Life, Feeling and the Making of Cuilture

Uso- Senior University Oeiras –    Lucinda

I am a student at USO: Senior University Oeiras. I became a volunteer teacher after 2013.
As student I attend classes of World Dances (4 hours a week), Oriental Dance (2 hours a week), Brain, Balance and Well-being (2 hours a week).
As a teacher I have two projects/classes but only “Art of Living” is connected with the subject of the project YTOT.
My main goal, when I created Art of Living was, and still is, to promote a better Physical, Mental and Emotional Health Education, enhance Autopoesies and Homeostasis, so necessary for everyone, mainly for us, the elders.

In “Art of Living” I develop several good practices, exercises and experiences to foster flexibility, flow activities, being in the Now, be aware and restore the balance of our three “brains”, quiet the mind to go beyond the thoughts, deepen Self awareness, access to stillness within, developing healthy habits., …

Some practices/activities/exercises with the students: 

1. Visits to exhibitions

  • Visit to Paula Rego´s exhibition in House of Stories: ”Looking Inside”.
    The students of two classes: “ Brain, Balance and Well-Being” and “Art of Living” visited this exhibition.
  • Pavilion of Knowledge: The students of two classes: “Brain,       Balance and Well- Being” and “Art of Living” visited a scientific exhibition de Giulia Enders ”The secret life of the intestines”.

2. Experiences of Body Expression: Biodanza

Flow activities and movement dances enhance autopoesis[1] and homeostasis plasticity. The self creation and maintaining chemistry of living cells benefits everyone involved, working the proprioception[2]. The “awarenessing” of body orientation in space makes us being more aware of ourselves and of the interaction with the others.

When the students group get a synchronized movement this allows to answer to some objectives (Rooting, focusing, …) and the flow happens.

3. Experiences of Mindfulness and Loving Kindness Meditation

These experiences based on mindfulness meditation produce alterations in brain and immune function. They foster brain activity associated with positive effect and increase significantly the antibody titers[3]. This psychosomatic medicine is helped by the stimulation of the vagal nerve.

On being observers of ourselves, focusing in the Now, each one will go through the time line, will visit the bank of memories, make a refresh over the experience and handle the emotions more accurate and aware.


[1] F. Varela et H. Maturana (1987). The tree of knowledge / Der Baum des Erkenntnis

[2] H. Gardner, António Damásio, …

[3] R. J. Davidson, Kabat Zinn et al. (2003) ; D. Goleman et R. Davidson (2018). Altered Traits