Archives for July 2016

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Mind

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Mind

It all starts with something small.

We began with a Mindfulness Challenge to start a small practice: three minutes a day, three days in a row. Take a moment here to congratulate yourself for your hard work and to think about how it was to take time to practice each Challenge, or even just to try practicing each Challenge. Small things can become really big, and it is definitely really big that you made it to this last week!

Now we’re at the third and final part of the Mindfulness Challenge. Each practice before has built a stepping stone to arrive where you are now. First Body, then Breath, and this week our Mindfulness Challenge will work with the Mind.

Our practice today is to find a Peaceful Place in the Mind. You can think of this like building a Rest Nest for yourself inside your head. So whenever you want to quiet down, press the pause button, or let go of some stress, you have a space that’s always there for you wherever you go.

Finding a Peaceful Place in the Mind:

  1. Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes.
  2. Notice how your body feels in your seated posture. See if you can soften your muscles here, just like in your Flower Petals Body Scan.
  3. Now notice your breath, and see if you can use your Belly Breathing practice to make your breath big and full.
  4. We’re ready to turn our attention to the Mind. Notice what’s going on in your mind right now. Are you thinking about something that happened or might happen? Is the mind off in a daydream?
  5. Wherever your mind is, gently bring it back to this moment, right here and now.
  6. Begin to imagine your favorite, most Peaceful Place. If you’ve already created a Rest Nest in your home or have one at school, maybe you imagine that Rest Nest. Maybe you have a favorite spot at the park, or some place you’ve gone with your family that was very peaceful for you.
  7. Focus in on one Peaceful Place, and begin to notice as many things as you can about it. If it’s your Rest Nest, then maybe notice if there are pillows or blankets, and what color they are. If it’s outside, notice if there are birds or trees, and how they sound and look.
  8. Begin to make this image of your Peaceful Place as clear as possible in your mind.
  9. Imagine that with each Belly Breath, your Peaceful Place becomes more and more clear.
  10. Take another ten breaths here, then slowly make your way out of your Peaceful Place and back into the room around you as you blink your eyes open.

Take a few moments here to reflect on your Peaceful Place. It can be really nice to draw it out or journal about it to help you remember for the next time you practice.

Remember, the Challenge is to practice 3 minutes a day, 3 days in a row! If you miss a day, don’t worry, just start again the next day. Good job and good luck!

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Breath

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Breath

It all starts with something small.

This week’s 3 x3 Mindfulness Challenge is Belly Breathing. Practice Belly Breathing for 3 Minutes a day, 3 days in a row! Below is a refresher of the practice. The full length practice is also available from previous posts.

10 step guide to Belly Breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable seat (or lie down on your back)
  2. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes with a relaxing sound to bring you back
  3. Bring one hand to your belly, the other hand to your heart
  4. Close your eyes and begin to notice the path of your breath
  5. Notice as air goes into your nose, travels down your throat and fills up your belly on the in-breath
  6. Notice as your belly falls back toward your spine and the air travels up through your throat and out of your nose on the out-breath
  7. Repeat this until your timer goes off: if you are on an in-breath when 3 minutes is up, take time to end on an out-breath so you are balanced
  8. Keep your eyes closed and just notice how you feel. Is it any different from when you started the practice?
  9. Gently blink your eyes open
  10. Great job!

See if you can make it to 3 days in a row! If you miss a day, don’t worry, just start again the next day!

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Body

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Body

It all starts with something small.

This week’s 3 x3 Mindfulness Challenge is a Flower Petals Body Scan. Practice your Flower Petals Body Scan for 3 Minutes a day, 3 days in a row! It is the same idea as the Glitter Globe Body Scan we practiced earlier in the year, just imagining Flower Petals instead of Glitter.

  1. If you’d like, set a 3 minute timer on your phone with a calming alarm sound. You can also practice without a timer.
  2. Begin in a comfortable seat with a tall spine and eyes closed.
  3. Imagine you’re sitting under a beautiful tree full of flowers. A gentle breeze comes along and the Flower Petals blow off of the tree and begin to drift to the ground.
  4. Start by noticing the Flower Petals as the reach the top of your head. Then follow them as they travels down your face, maybe scrunching up your face muscles and releasing here so they don’t tickle your nose.
  5. Feel the Flower Petals moving over your shoulders and down your back. See if you can roll your shoulders back and down, softening to help the Flower Petals move more easily on their path.
  6. Follow the Flower Petals as they roll over your heart space, and down across your belly. Take a big breath in to the belly here, and a deep breath out.
  7. Imagine the Flower Petals brushing down the fronts and backs of your legs, touching your knees, and floating all the way down to your toes. Soften through your legs and feet to so the Flower Petals can move more easily to the ground.
  8. Take a big big breath in through your nose and fill up your belly. Then blow all the air out through your mouth to clear off any Flower Petals that are still on you.
  9. Keep your eyes closed and notice how you feel.
  10. When your alarm rings, gently come back to the space you are in by blinking open your eyes, and taking gentle movement.

If you’re keeping track of your practice on a calendar or chart, go ahead and mark off one day of practice. Great job! Remember to keep practicing until you reach 3 days in a row!

Stay tuned for next week’s practice.

3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge

3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge

It all starts with something small.

As we learned before, you have the power to create a Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape through your Mindfulness practices. The 3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge helps us Maintain our Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape by practicing 3 minutes a day for 3 days in a row!

Some day we want to be able to practice every single day. Just like a garden needs sunshine to grow, your Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape needs practice to keep growing beautifully too! Since most things don’t grow all at once, we’re going to start small then work our way up.

There will be one 3 minute, 3 day challenge each week for 3 weeks: Body, Breath, Mind. They are meant to be practiced in order, and one per week so you become a Mindful expert with each one.

How can you prepare? It might be helpful to find a  calendar, or make your own to note each time you complete a day of the 3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge. You can use stickers, colors, draw a star, or anything else that makes you happy to show that you practiced. If possible, hang it up somewhere you see all the time so it can be a reminder to practice!

Stay tuned for next week’s challenge!

Mindful Pause for Gratitude: Independence

Mindful Pause for Gratitude: Independence

With Independence Day approaching, it’s nice to take a Mindful Pause to reflect of all we have to be grateful for! You might already know that the 4th of July is a holiday to celebrate our country’s independence- but what does independence really mean anyhow? Independence means that we are in charge of ourselves as a country and as a people. That’s why we do things like vote when we’re grown ups- so that we can help choose what happens around us.

Mindfulness is a lot like independence because it helps us choose how we want to act in the world around us too. As we’ve learned in past lessons, when we are Mindful, we are able to Pause and reflect on our options. This ability gives us the freedom to act in a way that best serves us and others, instead of choosing something out of anger or impatience for example. So good job Mindful ones, you are cultivating (or growing) your own independence every time that you practice!

Today we’re going to practice taking a Mindful Pause for Gratitude. The topic of our Gratitude today is Independence. You may choose to focus on Independence relating to the 4th of July, since that is coming up (or already happened depending on when you read this), or maybe Independence relating to something else completely. Notice what naturally comes up in your practice.

Begin by closing your eyes. Connect to your breath by paying attention to your in-breath and your out-breath. Take five deep rounds of breath, bringing the in-breath all the way down into your belly, and drawing your belly back toward your spine on the out-breath. At the end of your fifth out-breath, keep your eyes closed and slowly bring one hand on top of the other onto your heart. Move your in-breath and your out-breath to the space of your heart now. Feel your heart grow big and full on the in-breath, and soften your heart on the out-breath. Take three more rounds like this.

Once you have connected your breath to your heart, begin to connect your mind to your hearth. Start to notice what about your independence, your freedom to choose, you are grateful for in this moment. Notice whatever comes up. It can be big or small. Maybe it is being able to go to school and learn, or maybe it is something like being able to choose what you eat for dinner once a week. Once you notice what you are grateful for, begin to breathe into that feeling. Hold that gratitude for your independence in your heart. Fill it up on your in-breath, and take it in to your heart on your out-breath. Take five more rounds like this, all the while holding that gratitude in your heart space.

When your finish your last out-breath, keep your eyes closed and just notice how your feel. How does your body feel? How does your breath feel? How does your mind feel? Maybe even turn the corners of your mouth up to the sky… and gently open your eyes when you are ready.