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.

Mindful Welcome of the Seasons: Summer

Mindful Welcome of the Seasons: Summer

This week’s practice is a Mindful Welcome to the new season: summer! This practice is about using your Mindfulness skills to notice and welcome the transition from spring to summer. When seasons change, there are usually some changes that we can notice more easily than others. What do you think some of the easier changes to notice are from spring to summer?

(Give pause for answers)

You might have said something like: No school! It’s hot! Or it stays light out longer! There are also some changes in the summer that we might not notice as easily at first thought. These include some changes that happen because of the bigger differences you noticed, like the different foods we eat in the summer, the kinds of sports we play, the friends or family we get to see, and maybe even trips we go on.

Summer is normally seen as a time full of opportunity, warmth, and relaxation. Today we’re going to meditate on the new season and give it a nice warm welcome!

Begin by closing your eyes and noticing your body and your breath. See if you can feel your feet root down on the ground and your head reach up to the sky. Maybe imagine that your feet are touching warm summer sand on a beach, or warm dirt in a garden, and that your head is reaching up into the sunny summer sky. Begin to slow your breath down and imagine that with each in-breath, the sun shines a little brighter on your skin, and on the out-breath you let it’s warmth wash over you. Breathe in through your nose to take in the sunshine, breathe out through your nose to spread the sunshine all through your body.

Take another ten breaths like this. When you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

Welcome, summer!

Maintaining a Mindful Outer Landscape: Emotional Environment

Maintaining a Mindful Outer Landscape: Emotional Environment

Last week we learned about Maintaining a Mindful Outer Landscape through our Physical Environment. This week we’re going to learn about how to Maintain a Mindful Outer Landscape through our Emotional Environment.

So what is an Emotional Environment anyhow? An Emotional Environment has to do with how you feel in the place that you’re in. We learned about our Physical Environment first, because that helps us set up our Emotional Environment too! But it isn’t just the physical things around us that affect our Emotional Environment, it’s the people and sounds too!

Close your eyes for a moment here and think about the people you’re around most of the time. Maybe they are friends or family. Think about how you usually feel around these people. Maybe also notice why you feel that way. If you feel happy, maybe it’s because you know you’re loved or cared for. If you feel sad, maybe you don’t feel like you’re getting very much attention directed your way. Just notice this, without judging any of it!

Gently blink your eyes open and reflect on what you just pictured. Our goal is to Maintain our Mindful Outer Landscape through our Emotional Environment. If our Emotional Environment doesn’t feel very good, what can we do to help if feel better?

Here are some tools we’ve learned in the past through our Mindfulness practices:

  • Mindful Communication Series:7632203602_1549d758cd_b
    • Mindful Listening
    • Mindful Words
    • Mindful Body Language
  • The Mindful Body Series:
    • Mindful Eating Habits
    • Mindful Movement Habits
    • Mindful Rest Habits

The main idea is that what you take in affects what you put out. So we want to make sure our Mindful Inner and Outer Landscapes are doing the best they can so that we can help others have Mindful Inner and Outer Landscapes too. What you take in includes conversations with other people, music, TV, food, everything! You don’t have to worry too much about this all at once, just notice what your choices look like now and see if you can take some small steps, one at a time, to make your Outer Landscape a little more Mindful.

Maintaining a Mindful Outer Landscape: Your Physical Environment

Maintaining a Mindful Outer Landscape: Your Physical Environment

Materials Needed:

  • Mindful Outer Landscape drawing from last week (or small piece of paper)
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or other writing utensils

Last week we got to dream up our Mindful Outer Landscapes. This week we’re going to start learning to how maintain them!

As we learned before, what is around you becomes a part of you. This means people, places, and things. Today we are going to focus on WHAT is around us, from the things perspective. These things make up our Physical Environment, or the space around us. We can pick them up with our hands and move them around to make our Mindful Outer Landscape even more supportive and reflective of our Mindful Inner Landscape.

For starters. Close your eyes and imagine what your room looks like. Your room is a very special place because it is the first thing you see in when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing you see when you go to bed at night. Notice what you might see in your room right now: is it clean, messy, bright, dark? Think about this, and create a picture of what your room is like right now.

Then think about whether your room as it is now helps to Maintain your Mindful Outer Landscape, or if it might not be helping so much. Odds are, there may be something that might not be helping to Maintain our Mindful Outer Landscapes in our Physical Environment. Notice what that might be, and think if there is something simple you can do to change that.

  • If your room is dark: is there a was to get more light in?
  • If it is REALLY messy: is there a way to organize it a little better so you know where things are?
  • If it isn’t super cozy: can you make a Rest Nest with some pillows and a blanket (with parent permission) to practice Mindfulness or relax in?
  • If there’s no space to be creative: can you make a crafts or coloring corner? Maybe it can be your Rest Nest too!
  • If you share a room, maybe you can team up with your room mate to see what you can do together!

When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, and write or draw an idea on the back of your Mindful Outer Landscape drawing from last week for how you can your Physical Environment better Maintain your Mindful Outer Landscape. If you don’t have your drawing still, any piece of paper will do. Your challenge for the week is to talk to your parents or guardians about trying it out!

Stay tuned for more tips to Maintain your Mindful Outer Landscape next week!

Creating a Mindful Outer Landscape

Creating a Mindful Outer Landscape

Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • Writing Utensil (Colored Pencils, Crayons, Markers)

The first step toward creating a Mindful Outer Landscape is something we’ve already been working on: Creating and Maintaining a Mindful Inner Landscape. The more your Mindful Inner Landscape is taken care of and Maintained, the more it will help your Mindful Outer Landscape grow peaceful and strong too!

  1. Remember some of the practices we mentioned last time to Maintain your Mindful Inner Landscape? Continuing to practice those, and other similar Mindfulness activities is step one of Creating a Mindful Outer Landscape. Have you ever heard someone say that “It’s what’s inside that counts?” Well, that is how we make it count on the outside, through practice.
  2. Step two is taking a look at what is going on around you. What does your room look like? What are your friends like? What kind of music do you listen to? How do you get along with your family?
    1. These are just a few examples of things that are part of our Outer Landscape.

Today’s practice is to take inventory of our Outer Landscape, so that we have an idea of how to make it more Mindful.

  1. First think about what your Outer Landscape looks like now. You can use the examples I gave you of your room, friends, music, and family to get started if that helps.
  2. Next imagine what your Mindful Outer Landscape would look like. Think about the practices we’ve been learning, and what they promote. Most of them talk about self-care, eating healthy, treating your mind and body well, and treating others well too. Does your Outer Landscape look like this now? It’s okay if it doesn’t, because that is our practice today!
  3. Now go ahead and either draw or write down what your Mindful Outer Landscape would look like.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful Mindful Outer Landscape, we are ready to learn how to Maintain it! Stay tuned for tips next week!

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Maintaining a Mindful Inner Landscape

Maintaining a Mindful Inner Landscape

Materials needed:

  • Inner garden drawing
  • Writing utensil

Last time we talked about how what a Mindful Inner Landscape is, and how it is created through what we take in. You all got to imagine what the inner garden of your Mindful Inner Landscape looks like, and we’re sure it was absolutely beautiful!

Now that you have a vision of what you’d like your inner garden to look like, its time to learn how to keep it healthy so it can grow into your Mindful Inner Landscape. Since the things you take in add to your inner garden, what kinds of things do you think would be good nourishment, or food for it?

We have already learned about many of these things in past mindfulness practices. You might remember some or all of them, but here are some examGreen watering can pouring waterples:

  • Mindful Eating
  • The Practice Acts of Kindness series
  • The Mindful Mornings series
  • The Mindful Body series

You have been building up a toolbox of Mindfulness practices, and now you get to choose some that you’d like to practice to Maintain a Mindful Inner Landscape.

If you still have your inner garden drawing, you can turn it over to write down three Mindfulness practices that you think would be good nourishment, or food, for your inner garden. These can be a reminder of what to practice to Maintain your Mindful Inner Landscape, and that when you practice, you are helping your inner garden stay healthy.

 

Creating A Mindful Inner Landscape

Creating A Mindful Inner Landscape

Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • Coloring utensils (pencils, crayons, markers)

A landscape is what a space that you’re in looks like. Imagine you’re sitting at a park looking around. There may be trees, a playground, flowers… these are all part of the landscape. This landscape has many different parts that make it so nice to be part of. Places can also have parts what make it not so nice to be a part of.

Today we’re going to talk about our Inner Landscape, and how we can work to make it a Mindful Inner Landscape that feels good to be a part of us. What you take in becomes part of you, and part of being mindful is noticing what we take in. This means what we take in to our bodies and our minds through our eyes, our breath, our ears, and our foods. There are so many ways we can make our Inner Landscape more Mindful, so we will just cover a few for examples. They will be short practices of awareness, or noticing, and challenges to try noticing more often throughout your week.flowers-clouds-grass-nature-peaceful-sky-wind

You can think of this Inner Landscape like a garden, with each practice planting seeds for beautiful things to grow. The more you practice what you learn, the more you water the sees and help them become part of your garden. This garden is what makes up your Mindful Inner Landscape because you are helping to grow what you want yourself to look like on the inside!

Today’s practice to get started is to draw your inner garden. Start by imagining a place you feel safe, calm, relaxed, and happy. It can be real or imaginary. Draw you Mindful Inner Landscape based on this place that you imagine, and maybe even add words to the drawing that say what you’d like to be part of you. Some examples might be kindness, love, happiness, peacefulness… the sky is the limit! This Mindful Inner Landscape can be your inspiration for the practices to come.

Practice Acts of Kindness: Yourself

Practice Acts of Kindness: Yourself

There are many ways to Practice Acts of Kindness to Your Self. But before we get started, you might ask, why do I need to practice it myself anyhow? Just like any mindfulness practice, the MOST important thing to remember is that we must practice ourselves so that we can share it. If you want to be in a space to share Acts of Kindness with others, you must first be kind to your self.

Now, lets talk about some simple ways to Practice Acts of Kindness to Your Self. Some of them are very similar to ones we practiced with other5712669523_383115ff9d_os, and they are listed here:

  1. Write yourself a kind post-it note and put it on a mirror you see in the mornings.
    1. Read the post it note out loud to your self as a bonus!
    2. An extra bonus: smile at yourself in the mirror while you say it.
  2. Give yourself a huge hug first thing when you wake up. Just because you’re so awesome!

Student’s Tip: Feel free to journal about how Practicing Acts of Kindness to Your Self made you feel. These are great practices to do every single day!

Teacher’s Tip: You may want to hold space for in-class sharing or writing reflection on the practice the following day to deepen student reflection!