3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Reflection

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Reflection

This week’s practice is to reflect on the Mindfulness Challenge you just completed. It’s not easy to commit to something, especially your practice. You’ve now gotten an idea of what is is like to practice Mindfulness on almost half the days of the week, WOW! What a great accomplishment that is all by itself!

After accomplishing something, it is important to take time to reflect, or look back, on that accomplishment. This is how we can learn the most from our experiences. If you’re wondering how to reflect, wonder no more, because the it is broken down for you in 5 easy steps.

It’s ok if you missed some days, or had to start a practice over, just answer the best you can. And…go!

  1. What did I like most about practicing the 3×3 Mindfulness Challenge?
  2. What was hardest about practicing the 3×3 Mindfulness Challenge?
  3. What was it like making the challenge a regular part of my day?
    1. Was it easy to make time? Was it hard?
  4. How did I feel after I practiced?
  5. What advice would I give to myself for next time?

Of course there are always more questions to ask, but this is a good start and a good place to come back if you feel either stuck, or like you’re reaching a new level in your practice!

Practice Tip: Feel free to keep practicing any or all of the Mindfulness Challenges this week. Stay tuned next week to see how we’ll use our skills from this Challenge next!

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: 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.

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Classmates

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Classmates

For this practice, you will need:

  • A piece of paper
  • A writing tool

Teachers: to prepare for the lesson, you might match students up to a student they normally don’t talk to for Practicing Acts of Kindness.

Practicing Acts of Kindness means that we are mindfully taking the time to be kind to another person. This week’s Practicing Acts of Kindness focus is on classmates. A lot of the time we have friends in class we like to hang out with and talk to, but the classmates we focus on in this practice are the ones you don’t know as well or might not ever talk to.

It can definitely be scary to talk or do something for someone you don’t know very well. We are all in this together! Take a moment to be mindful of what thoughts or feelings come up for you when you think of the practice. Once you notice some thoughts or feelings, go ahead and write them down or draw them (teacher can cue depending on developmental appropriateness).

[Optional] Teachers: you might ask students to submit feelings anonymously and have them close their eyes to vote on whether they agree by raising their hands. This practice can help diffuse some anxiety.

To Practice Acts of Kindness today, we will write a note of kindness to the classmate who we are matched with, or draw a kind picture for them. The note or drawing should say something nice about your classmate. It can be big or small, as long as it comes from your heartletters-772504_960_720 and is kind!

Take 5 minutes to write your short note of kindness or make a kind drawing. Be sure to write the name of your classmate somewhere on it. When you finish, wait for your teacher to give you instructions.

Teachers: after 5 minutes, direct students to exchange notes with their matched classmate.

After you exchange your note of kindness, take another mindful moment to notice how you feel after Practicing Acts of Kindness. Today you also got to receive Acts of Kindness! Write down how you feel, and share with your teacher and classmates if it feels okay to you!

Teacher’s Tip: If this practice resonates with you and your students, you can make Practicing Acts of Kindness a regular classroom activity. It is a great way to bring the classroom together and give students the opportunity to communicate with classmates outside of their friend group.

Student’s Tip: You can practice acts of kindness with your classmates as much as you’d like! Notes and drawings outside of class time are a great way to practice. You can also tell your classmates kind things and save paper! The sky is the limit with ways to Practice Acts of Kindness. It can be as simple as giving someone a nice big smile!

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Introduction

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Introduction

 

This next series is meant to inspire us to Practice Acts of Kindness. This series teaches us ways to Practice Acts of Kindness with a new person each week, so that we can become experts in being kind. Each practice is meant to be very simple, and can be practiced by anyone!

Over the next few weeks, we will Practice Acts of Kindness with:

  1. Classmates
  2. Teachers
  3. Parents & Family
  4. Yourself!

When we Practice Acts of Kindness, we create something called a Ripple Effect. This means that when we are kind, others might be inspired to be kind too! We all have the power to share kindness, and the most important step is through practice!

Kindness is something that you can practice every day in every way, just like Mindfulness! Just like we are learning to be Mindful, we are also learning to be Kind. When we practice a lot, it becomes a natural part of who we are.

Through this series you will learn simple ways to be kind, and have opportunities to practice it! We look forward to making ripples of kindness with you!

Teachers: Random Acts of Kindness supplies free K-12 lesson plans if you are looking to take your teaching of kindness even further!

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Create your own Mindful Mandala

Create your own Mindful Mandala

For this practice, you’ll need:

  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • A piece of paper for each student
  • examples of Mandalas (can pull up an image on a projector or draw an simple example on the whiteboard)

In today’s practice, you will Create you own Mindful Mandala. It is a combination of the Mindful Coloring practices of Mindful FreeExpression Coloring and Mindful Mandala Coloring that we learned in our last two Mindfulness activities.

As we learned before, a Mindful Mandala is a pattern that is often in the shape of a circle. Sometimes Mindful Mandalas look like big bright suns, or flowers with lots of petals. Sometimes they look like a circle with a pattern inside of it. You get to choose what your Mindful Mandala looks like, because it is a reflection of your own creativity!

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If you feel stuck, here are some steps to begin:

  1. Drawing a small, medium, or large sized circle in the middle of your paper.
  2. Pick a pattern to draw all around the outside of the circle. This can be flower petals, rays of the sun, shapes, or any kind of drawing you feel is right. You can choose to only draw the pattern once, or you can keep repeating the pattern so it makes more layers for your Mindful Mandala.
  3. Pick a pattern to draw inside of the circle. You can draw it around the inside of the circle, or you can fill the whole inside part of the circle with that pattern. You can also choose to draw something that reminds you to be Mindful inside the circle, whatever that may be.
  4. Now it is time to color! Pick your colors and make your Mindful Mandala a unique expression of you! Whatever you make is perfect.
  5. The last step is to gaze at your beautiful Mindful Mandala. Spend a minute or so noticing the colors and shapes and patterns of your Mindful Mandala. This is a Mindful Mandala meditation that you can practice anytime you’d like.

Great work everyone. You have now learned how to Create your own Mindful Mandala! You can make Mindful Mandalas on your own at home or during free time (if your teacher says its okay) and you can play around with different patterns and colors every single time if you’d like. Remember, whatever you create is a perfect expression on your creativity!

Teacher’s Tip: Mindful Mandalas can be tied in to lessons at school. If you are working with a theme and would like to bring these in for a future lesson, you can have your students make a Mindful Mandala with patterns related to your lesson in the classroom.

Student’s Tip: You can Create your own Mindful Mandala whenever you have free time. Another great practice is to try your Mindful Mandala meditation either with a new Mindful Mandala, or maybe with one you have already created.

 

 

How To: Mindfulness Blog

How To: Mindfulness Blog

Welcome Teachers!

Here’s what you need to know when using this blog:

  • New posts are updated every week or so, with content for you to use in your classroom and beyond.
  • You can choose to read through the posts word for word, like a script, or explain them in a way that you think best conveys the lesson to your students. They are developmentally tailored, but can certainly be modified further for specific age groups.
  • Practices will be best understood if you begin from the earliest post: Balloon Breathing, and work your way through to the most current. Feel free to pick and choose as you see fit, just keep in mind that there may be references to past posts that pop up.
  • Keep an eye out for series, or grouped practices, that build off of each other and are meant to be followed in sequential order.
  • At the end of each post are a teacher tip and a student tip. The tips give you a sense of what the lesson is targeting (i.e. cultivating a sense of calm or compassion), and can help you choose your mindfulness activity for the day.
  • We highly recommend practicing each exercise on your own to experience it first-hand before teaching to others. See our post Mindful Teachers: Three Key Tips

Our goal is to provide you with tools that can be applied in the classroom in order to cultivate a greater sense of mindfulness for both you and your students. If you have additional questions, let us know how we can help through our Contact Us page.

Sincerely,

Mindfulness @ ELSPAP

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Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Classmates

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