Archives for January 2016

Glitter Globe Mind Scan

Glitter Globe Mind Scan

This week is the second of our Mindful Glitter Globe Activities. It is called the Glitter Globe Mind Scan. The Glitter Globe Mind Scan is tool to use when there are a lot of thoughts going on in your mind, or if you are having a lot of one thought in particular that might be making you upset, worried, or anxious. We suggest you use your Mindful Glitter Globe for this practice, but it can be done with your imagination or a video of a Glitter Globe too.

Teachers: begin with a demonstration using the Mindful Glitter Globe. You can explain that sometimes when we have a lot of thoughts in our head, our minds can look like a shaken up Glitter Globe (Shake up the Glitter Globe here). This is a practice to help us notice what is being shaken up inside our heads and to take a step back to let it all settle down before we make any decisions. It can seem really easy to react to something that is frustrating or overwhelming, but we are learning to use the Glitter Globe in our minds to help us respond. The difference between these words is that you do one with thought (or Mindfulness), and the other without thinking too much about what might happen.

Think about a time that someone upset you. Did you say something mean to that person and felt bad right after? That is an example of reacting. On the other hand, did you take a few moments or breaths to figure out what you wanted to say to someone? That is an example of responding. We can use the Glitter Globe Mind Scan to help us find space to respond to things that make us upset or worried instead of reacting to them.

Lets close our eyes together and practice following our thoughts as they settle down. Remember the Glitter Globe that was shaken up earlier? Imagine that the inside of your mind looks like a shaken up Glitter Globe right now- with your thoughts moving all around. Practice Thought Clouds here and watch your thoughts as they float by, without giving them any names or calling any of them anything (good, bad, happy, sad). Let your thoughts to keep on floating, without trying to figure them out, make them stay, or go away. Imagine your thoughts are the glitter in the Glitter Globe, slowly floating their way down to the bottom. See what it feels like to not have to do anything but notice.

Take a few more moments to practice this. You can always start again from the top, following the Glitter in your mind as it floats its way down.

Try this practice out next time your feel upset or nervous or worried. Instead of putting a label or name on your thoughts, or feeling like you have to do something right away, practice the Glitter Globe Mind Scan and let all of those thoughts float their way down. Then notice how you feel, and hopefully you’ll have a little more space to respond to what is going on around you with Mindfulness.14582291897_40a76d01f0_o-1

Glitter Globe Body Scan

Glitter Globe Body Scan

 

Today’s practice is called the Glitter Globe Body Scan. If you weren’t able to make a Mindful Glitter Globe, you can definitely use your imagination to join the practice. If you have a snow globe or something similar, feel free to use that too.

To begin, introduce the Mindful Glitter Globe to your students. Turn over the jar in front of them so they can see the glitter float its way down. Have them watch as the glitter in the jar as it travels all the way down to the bottom. In this practice, we will be following our attention, just like the glitter, as it travels down our bodies to the ground.

To begin, find Mountain Pose. Feet as wide as your hips, arms resting along your sides, palms facing forward. Lift up through the very top of your head to make your spine nice and tall. Let the eyes gently close, and notice your breath. Feel your belly get bigger as you breath in, and feel your belly empty as you breath out. Take three more belly breaths here.

Now bring your attention to the very top of your head. The place you lifted to make your spine long and tall. Imagine that you are standing inside of a Mindful Glitter Globe, and the glitter has just been turned over above your head. See if you can follow the glitter as it travels down your body here, becoming mindful of everything in its path. Start by noticing the top of your head, where the glitter began. Then follow it as it travels down the muscles of your face, maybe scrunching up your face muscles and releasing here (so no glitter gets stuck). Feel the glitter travel down the back of your head too, moving over your shoulders and down your back. See if you can roll your shoulders back and down to help the glitter move more easily on its path.

Follow the glitter as it rolls over your heart space, and down across your belly. Take a big breath in to the belly here, and a deep breath out. Imagine the glitter brushing down the fronts and backs of your legs, touching your knees, and floating all the way down to your toes.

Take a big inhale through your nose, exhale out of your mouth and blow any leftover glitter away!

Take another deep breath in here and grow really tall. Then for good measure, shake out your arms and legs, just to be sure there’s not glitter left.

Teachers: It might be fun to bring a little glitter in and offer students a sprinkle of it to remember the activity!

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Making a Mindful Glitter Globe

Making a Mindful Glitter Globe

Teachers: a Mindful Glitter Globe is a fun and visual way to teach your students about Mindfulness. They are inexpensive to make, and can be used for many mindfulness practices. The following post is a tutorial to make a Mindful Glitter Globe, which will be used in our practices for the following weeks. You can still participate without the Mindful Glitter Globe, but its use is highly recommended, as it provides an opportunity to teach the abstract concept of Mindfulness from a concrete modality.

This is also a great activity to introduce to your class during an art day. Kids can even bring in their own jars from home. All you would have to supply is the water and glitter!

Supplies needed:

  • Medium to large size Mason jar with a secure lid.
    • Empty spaghetti sauce jars, jam jars, and other large glass jars are great a great resource that won’t cost extra money!
    • *If sending these home with kids, plastic jars are a good alternative to glass.
  • Water
  • Glitter

Assembly instructions:

  • Fill up the jar with water
  • Add glitter
  • Screw on lid securely

We will use the Mindful Glitter Globe as a metaphor for processes in the body, mind and feelings. However, you can certainly find other creative ways to use it. Let your imagination be your guide, and stay tuned for next week’s post.

Note: you may have to change out the water and glitter eventually.

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Teacher Self-Care Series Part IV: Mindful Minutes: Welcoming the New Year

Teacher Self-Care Series Part IV: Mindful Minutes: Welcoming the New Year

 

Starting off the New Year can be both hopeful and daunting. As we get back into the swing of things, here are some Mindful Minutes practices to smooth the transition!

Cultivating an Attitude for Gratitude

This practice directs our attention toward gratitude. You don’t need any materials, and it hardly takes any time at all! This version of Cultivating an Attitude for Gratitude is intended to be practiced first thing when you wake up, while you are still nice and cozy in bed. The practice asks that you simply to think of one thing you are grateful for in those first moments of consciousness. Then allow your eyes to close and hold an image of what you are grateful for in your mind and in your heart. If you’d like, you can bring your hands, one on top of the other, on your heart space. Count five breaths into that thing you are grateful for, and gently open your eyes to the beautiful day ahead! This practice will naturally take about 1 minute. You can spend another 1-2 minutes in the practice if it resonates with you in the moment. 

Mindful Suns

You’ll need a little bit of room to move for this practice. Imagine a space the size of a yoga mat- if you have a mat, even better! Mindful Suns are a wonderful way to energize our mornings as soon as we get out of bed or into the classroom. They can also be a nice after-lunch pick-me-up (post digesting), or after-work release of energy. You will need 3-5 minutes to complete this practice (prior knowledge of Mindful Suns full-length practice strongly suggested).

Find yourself standing with your feet hip-width distance apart. Inhale your arms out wide and up overhead, bringing your palms to meet, gazing up. Exhale to gently bend your knees and swan dive forward to rest your belly on your thighs. Let your head and neck relax here, and sway side to side if it feels good in your muscles. Take 3 breaths like this.

On your fourth breath in, bring your hands to your shins and look straight ahead. On your breath out, plant your hands on the ground and step your right and left foot back to high plank pose (knees down are a welcome modification).

Inhale in plank and gaze forward. Exhale to lift your hips up and back for downward facing dog (your heels will probably not touch the ground). Check that your hands are shoulder distance apart, fingers spread wide, and middle finger pointing straight ahead (to align your wrists). Let your head and neck relax here, and take a gently bend in the knees. Take 5 deep breaths here.

At the end of your 5th breath, gaze forward and slowly walk your feet up to meet your hands. Inhale to lift half way, exhale to fold down. Inhale to gently bend the knees as you slowly reverse your swan dive to stand with your arms sweeping overhead. Exhale, palms meet and pull down in front of the heart. Take 3 breaths here, then open your eyes.

Now flow through this one more time, connecting breath to movement. The only difference is that time you’ll step your left foot back to plank instead of your right.

The length of practice (3-5 min) will depend on how fast you want to move and what is right in your body. If you have more time, you can always do a few more rounds!

Modifications:

  1. hug in your low belly to protect your low back
  2. knees can be down for the breath in plank
  3. knees can always be bend in down dog
  4. skip the plank and step straight to down dog if you’re not up for it or your low back isn’t feeling great today

Mindful Steps

Mindful Steps can be incorporated into any part of your day, for as long or as little time as you’d like. The first “step” is to tune into your breath: how are you breathing as you walk. Then your body: how do your muscles feel as you move. Then your mind: simply notice that you are walking. Notice the instinctual placement of one foot in front of the other, notice the pace of your steps, notice the feeling of the ground beneath your feet.

Continue this stream of conscious awareness for anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. It is a great practice to incorporate into your walk to or from your car, lunch, the restroom- you name it. You can certainly practice during a leisurely stroll as well!

Mountain Pose

This practice can be done in 1-5 minutes. Find yourself standing tall with your feet hip-width distance apart. Sway a little side-to-side until you find nice, firm footing. Allow your arms to rest alongside your body with your palms facing forward. Close your eyes and tune in to your state of being in this moment. Lift up from the crown of your head, lengthening your spine. Lift up all of your toes and spread them wide before planting them firmly down again. Energize your fingers, as if you were reaching down toward the ground with them. Envision yourself as a sturdy mountain. Your feet are your base, and your head the peak. You are strong. You are steady. You are rooted to the earth, but rise up into the clouds. Feel your own strength and steadiness in this moment, and breathe into this feeling for 5 more breaths. Gently open your eyes and return to the present moment. If you’d like, you can extend this practice for another 10-20 breaths.

Teacher’s Tip: This is a great grounding practice in times when you need to come back to your center.nature-rocks-lake-moss