Archives for March 2016

Mindful Free Expression Coloring

Mindful Free Expression Coloring

For this practice, you’ll need:

  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • A piece of paper for each student

Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a way for you to express yourself without judgment, and without having to plan what to color. All you have to do in this practice is move the colored pencil or crayon in whichever way seems right to you in the moment, without worrying about creating any kind of shape or design. Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a practice to release whatever is going on in your mind or feelings through the movement of your hand and the pencil or crayon on paper. Let it flow as naturally as possible- whatever you create is perfect!watercolor-795163_960_720

The practice will last for 5 minutes, and we will listen to music as we color. Try to let your colored pencil and crayon move across the paper in a natural, flowing way, without any pattern or shape in mind (Teacher demonstrate on board or paper). Begin.

[Teacher play relaxing music]

At 1.5-2 minutes in, remind students to let their hands move without any plan. To give their brain a break and create whatever naturally comes out in their Mindful Free Expression Coloring practice. Remember, whatever you create is the perfect Expression of you in this moment!

At the end of the 5 minutes, lower the volume of the music or turn it off and ask a handful of students to reflect on the experience with the class. If students are shy, they can write a reflection sentence on the back of their paper to share with you.

Teacher’s tip: If students love this practice, you can definitely spend longer than 5 minutes.

Student’s tip: If you love this practice, you can definitely practice at home too. Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a great way to unwind if you have a lot going on in your head or feelings.

Mindful Coloring Series

Mindful Coloring Series

We are about to embark on a colorful series called Mindful Coloring. Mindful Coloring helps us get into a space of Mindfulness so that we can notice what is going on in our minds, bodies and emotions as we color. Mindful coloring is a great way to bring your attention back in, and also to express yourself through the colors and art you create. There is no judgment in Mindful Coloring: whatever you produce is a perfect expression of you!

The Mindful Coloring Series includes:15958612933_25e9c6f45b_o (2)

  1. Mindful Free Expression Coloring
  2. Mindful Mandala Coloring
  3. Create your own Mindful Mandala

The supplies you will need for these practices are:

  • Paper
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Access to a printer (part II will need to be printed out- it is one page for each student)
  • Calming music (optional)

Expect to set aside 10 minutes for each practice. If you have time, 15 minutes is even better for the last two. Stay tuned for Mindful Coloring: Part I next week!

Different Nostril Breath

Different Nostril Breath

Teachers: Make sure you and your students are familiar with Full Mindful Breath (earlier in this series). It is important to practice this at least once before teaching so you can demonstrate for your students.

Begin reading here:

This week’s practice is Different Nostril Breath. It is a practice to make you feel calm, and also mindful of your body. Different Nostril Breath is also meant to challenge your brain a little bit to see if it is paying attention.

If you don’t know what your nostrils are, they are the places where you breathe into your nose. You have two nostrils: one on the right ( teacher: touch the right one to demonstrate) and one on the left (touch the right one to demonstrate). Now you try. Point to your right nostril. Good! Now point to your left nostril. Awesome! Different Nostril Breath uses both nostrils, so it is important to know right from left.

Different Nostril Breath doesn’t just have to do with your nose: the next step is to learn how our hands go in this practice. Hold up your right hand. Good. Now curl your pointing finger and the middle finger down (Teacher: hold up your hand to show them). I’m going to show you Different Nostril Breath one time before we practice together.

Keep your hand like this and cover your right nostril with your thumb. Take a Full Mindful Breath in to your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers and breathe out of your right nostril. Now take a Full Mindful Breath into your right nostril. Then cover that nostril with your thumb and breathe out of your left one!

Now let’s try it together! If your nose is stuffy, just close your eyes and imagine following along with us. You can even hold your hand the same way, just don’t press down on your nostrils. Remember to keep your pointer and middle fingers down. Now cover your right nostril with your thumb. Take a Full Mindful Breath in to your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers and breathe out of your right nostril. Now take a Full Mindful Breath into your right nostril. Then cover that nostril with your thumb and breathe out of your left one!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPractice that three more times. Thumb on right nostril, in-breath on the left. Pinky and ring on left nostril, out-breath on the right. In-breath on the right. Thumb covers right nostril and out-breath on the left. Imagine that you are breathing in and out slowly and softly, as if there is a feather under your nose and you are trying to keep it from blowing away!

Try one more time on your own. Remember to breathe softly and slowly. End on the left side (where you begin).

Great job! How did that feel? Was it hard for anyone?

Teacher: take some time for feedback and reflection from students on how that felt in their bodies.

Teacher’s Tip: This is a great practice to calm students down and get their brains into focus mode.

Student’s Tip: Practice Different Nostril Breath anytime you want to feel a little more calm in your mind and body. If you have a stuffy nose, remember to close your eyes and just imagine covering up your nostrils on each side.

Equal Breath

Equal Breath

Today’s practice is on Equal Breath. This practice helps us notice how long our in-breaths and out-breaths are, and then Mindfully change them so that they are the same length. There is no right or wrong way to do this practice, so just try your best. If you find that it doesn’t feel good in your body, practice Belly Breathing or Full Mindful Breath instead.

Equal Breath means we are breathing in for as much time as we are breathing out. So if our in-breath takes us to the count of three, our out-breath will take three counts too. The easiest way to understand the practice is to try it yourself, so let’s practice Equal Breath together.

Begin by finding a comfy seat and closing your eyes. Wiggle around a little to make sure you are really comfy, and then let your hands rest on your legs or knees. Relax your fingers here. Get really tall through the top of your head, and roll your shoulders down your back. If you’d like, you can imagine glitter from your Mindful Glitter Globe traveling from head to toe to help your body relax.

Once the imaginary glitter reaches your toes, begin to notice your breath. See if your breaths are long or short. Also see if your breaths go all the way into your belly, or if they only go into your chest. If you can, let your in breath fill up your belly, and let your out breath empty your belly (Belly Breathing). Then begin to move your in-breath through your belly, all the way into your chest for Full Mindful Breath. Let the out-breath move down from your chest, through your belly and out of your nose.

Once you find your Full Mindful Breath, see if you can count the time it takes for you to breathe in. It’s okay if you don’t get it exactly! Just notice about how much time it takes. Then see if you can count the time it takes for you to breathe out. A lot of the time one is longer than the other. In this practice we will see if we can make them even, and just notice how it feels.

Take your next breath in for 3…2…1 and hold for just a second. Then take your next breath out for 3…2…1 and hold out for just a second. Try that two more times on your own and notice how that feels as you breathe normally after [pause 15 seconds].

Now we’re going to make our in breath and out breath just a little longer. If this doesn’t feel good in your body, just stick with 3 counts. Take your next in breath for 5…4…3…2…1 and hold for just a second. Then take your next out breath for 5…4…3…2…1 and hold out for just a second. Try this 3 more times on your own, either for a 3 count or a 5 count like we just did. When you finish, breathe normally and notice how you feel and how that felt for you to practice [teacher: pause for 1-1.5 min].

When you are done, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room.

What did you notice in that practice [teachers take some reflections from students]?

Student’s Tip: You can practice Equal Breath anytime you want to notice how you are breathing. Equal Breath can help you slow down your breathing to take longer breaths in and longer breaths out. If you do practice Equal Breath on your own, try practicing Belly Breathing and Full Mindful Breath right before so that you can make your breath bigger before slowing it down.

Teacher’s Tip: It can be helpful for students to be familiar with Belly Breathing and Full Mindful Breath before this practice (if they aren’t already). This practice also refers to our Mindful Glitter Globe series, so that may be a good practice to do beforehand as well, or you can just take out the sentences about the Glitter Globe.

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