Archives for February 2016

Full Mindful Breath

Full Mindful Breath is the first practice in our Mindful Breathing Practice Series. We will use the skills we’ve learned from Belly Breathing and Glitter Globe Body Scan to try out a deeper breathing practice.

Begin by finding a comfy seat or standing position, depending on where you are and the space you have available. Make your spine even taller by reaching up through the crown of your head. Allow your eyes to gently close if that is comfortable, and bring one hand to your belly, one hand to your heart.

Begin to notice your breath. Is it big or small? Long or short? See if you can begin to change your breath into Belly Breathing. Fill up your belly on the in-breath, and let it become empty on the out-breath. Do this for three more rounds.

On the fourth round, begin to fill up your belly on the in-breath, and then see if you can fill your body up with breath even more, so that the in-breath fills up your heart space too! You might notice the hand on your heart lift up a little at the top of your in-breath. On the out breath, empty from your heart space, all the way down to your belly, and out of your nose! You might notice that when you got to the top of your breath, your belly pulled in a little bit. That is okay! Every body is different, so it is okay if your belly didn’t pull in a little bit.

Let’s practice one more time together. On the in breath, imagine that the air you take in is like a wave. It moves down your nose, into your belly to fill it up, then keeps going all the way up to your heart space. Your heart space is like the sea shore. Once it gets there, just like a wave, you can hold your breath for just a second, then let it roll out of your body, starting at your chest, moving through your belly and out of your nose.

Now try this five more times on your own! Notice how your hands may lift and lower when you take your in-breath, and out-breath.

When you finish the fifth time, close your eyes and notice how you feel.

[teacher bring them back after everyone has been finished for 30 seconds- 1 minute depending on how still they are]

How did that feel? What did you notice?

Teachers Tip: It might be helpful to show students a clip of an ocean wave before or after practicing to help them visualize the practice. Also remind students that if the breath is uncomfortable, they can stop at any time (ex. if a student has really bad allergies, is sick, or has asthma).

Students Tip: You can practice this breathing any time you’d like. It can help you hit the pause button if there’s a lot going on, and come back to a place of calm.

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Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Over the next few weeks we will introduce Mindful Breathing Practices as a three-part series.

  1. Full Mindful Breath
  2. Equal Breath
  3. Different Nostril Breath

We have already practiced some different kinds of breath and body awareness, and the Mindful Breathing Practice Series will build off of the ones we’ve learned before.

Practices that will be helpful to review for the coming weeks are:

  • Belly Breathing
  • Glitter Globe Body Scan

These practices will be referred to in the Mindful Breathing Practice Series, so it will be very helpful for teachers and students to be familiar and comfortable with them before moving on.

The most important thing to pay attention to with your students is how they are feeling. If a practice doesn’t feel good in their body, they are always welcome to stay at an earlier practice.

Stay tuned for the series!

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Take a Cool Down Breath

Take a Cool Down Breath

Today’s lesson is a simple tool to help cool you down when your body, mind, or emotions are feeling hot hot hot! Sometimes we feel really warm in our bodies on a sunny day or after sports or recess. Sometimes we feel like our minds are working overtime and we’re overheating with our thoughts. Sometimes our emotions might feel so powerful like they’re going to burst right out of us! This practice gives you the chance to take a Cool Down Breath, and notice the changes in your body, mind and feelings when you do.

To begin, lets start with a practice that gets you warm in your body. This is an easier example to notice, so we’ll stick with that one with our practice today. Begin by taking 20 jumping jacks, or running in place for 20 seconds. Then pause, close your eyes and notice how your body feels. Odds are that it is probably a little warmer than it was before.

Once you notice your body, take your attention to your breath. There are a few steps to take Cool Down Breath:

  1. Keep your eyes closed to keep your mind cool and calm
  2. If you can, make a straw shape with your tongue. If you can’t make this shape, press your tongue to the back of your top teeth.
  3. If you have your tongue in the shape of a straw, breathe in through your straw for 5-4-3-2-1 and fill up your belly. Hold the breath for 3-2-1 and slowly let it go. Try that 3 more times.
  4. If you have your tongue pressing into the back of your teeth, open your mouth really wide and inhale through the sides of your mouth to fill up your belly for 5-4-3-2-1. Hold the breath for 3-2-1 and slowly let it go. Try that 3 more times.
  5. It will probably sound pretty silly! Don’t worry, we’re all practicing together.
  6. At the end of your third round, keep your eyes closed and notice how your body feels now.
  7. Now open your eyes and raise your hands to share what you noticed!

Teachers: this can be a fun interactive practice for right after lunch, recess, or on a hot day to cool kids down a little bit.

Students: you can also try this breath when your mind or emotions are feeling really worked up. Practice for 5 rounds, then sit and notice how you feel.

Glitter Globe Feelings Scan

Glitter Globe Feelings Scan

We all have times when we get really powerful feelings. Sometimes they may seem like they are more under our control that others. Sometimes they can seem scary too! The Glitter Globe Feelings Scan is a practice of letting your feelings settle so that you can choose how you want to respond to a situation. Unlike the practice with our Glitter Globe Mind Scan, this time we are sitting with our feelings instead of letting them float by like our thoughts. A lot of times we think it’s not okay to have angry or sad feelings, but those are a part of us just like every other thing we feel! When you have this, or any other feeling, it may seem like someone took the Glitter Globe and shook it up (Teacher: shake up the Glitter Globe). We might feel it all over the place, just like the glitter floating all around the Globe. If we sit with that feeling, and keep noticing what is going on, we can learn to let the glitter settle down to the bottom. We can follow that feeling as it goes from a glitter storm, to resting glitter. We are able to see things more clearly when the glitter isn’t floating all around.

Begin this practice by finding a cozy seat. You can be cross-legged on the floor or sitting up tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your hands to rest on your knees and make your spine really tall by breathing in deeply and reaching up through the top of your head. Now gently close your eyes and begin to take your attention to how you are feeling in this moment, right now. Maybe you are happy or sad, angry or scared. Anything going on inside is important. Think about the feeling you are having right now, really focusing on what you notice in your body as you feel it. Now
imagine that feeling is a Glitter Globe inside of you. As you notice what you are feeling, imagine that your Glitter Globe has just been shaken up. Notice the glitter storm, and keep following the as it trickles down. Keep noticing your feeling and follow the glitter as it settles all the way down to the bottom. See if you can let follow the feeling until it goes from a glitter storm, to resting glitter, and a clear Glitter Globe.

This is a practice we can use with any feeling if we want to notice what is going on inside of us. It can be especially helpful if you are feeling really angry or really excited and want to do something right away. Sometimes it is good to let out glitter storm settle a little bit before we make a decision or do something, and the Glitter Globe Feelings Scan is one way to do that.

Next time you have one of these feelings, try practicing the Glitter Globe Feelings Scan and write down, draw, or tell your teacher or a parent what you noticed.

Teachers Tip: This is a great practice to remind a student of when they are really upset or really excited to do something. You can guide them through the practice again if they don’t remember, or cue them to follow the glitter storm until it settles.

This can also be a good practice to do before a field trip or big event at school where kids might normally forget the rules because they are so excited. If a student is feeling angry, this is a wonderful practice to do in a rest nest until they feel their anger glitter storm settle as well. Students can definitely use a real Glitter Globe as a visual aid, rather than imagining it internally. Just cue them to have a soft gaze rather than closing their eyes completely.sparkler-918836_960_720