The Mindful Pause

The Mindful Pause

This week our practice focus is simplicity. There is so much joy that can be connected to by simply taking a moment out of the day and pausing, breathing, sensing this wakeful presence that is right here, right now and allowing all of this moment in. So please take a few moments right now to do that while you gave upon this beautiful image below:

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Mindful Teachers: Three Key Tips

Mindful Teachers: Three Key Tips

While this blog is meant to be very readable and developmentally tailored, there are some things that just can’t be directly taught through words. The following post is an experiential guide for Three Key Tips intended to facilitate your teaching skills, and hopefully increase their impact on your students.

  1. Practice
  2. Hold compassion
  3. Speak authentically

Practice: The hardest part of being a teacher of mindfulness can be making time to practice it your self! Have you ever noticed yourself giving advice to a friend and then realized that you don’t even follow your own advice? If not, then you are well on your way to the Mindful path (hold tight till the next paragraph). If so, you’re not alone. It is easy to see from the outside just how good certain practices can be, but to lotus-215460_640really know them, we must actually practice them! Practice, practice, practice is NUMBER ONE of the Three Key Tips. After developing a consistent practice, you might find that the other tips flow naturally from this one. If you are, or plan to be, teaching your kids or students these practices, make sure to practice them first. This will give you a deeper understanding of what you are asking them to do, and will allow you to better understand how the practices make them feel in their own bodies and minds.

Hold Compassion: Compassion for oneself and one’s students is a necessary element of the teaching and practice of mindfulness. As a teacher, it is important to hold space for every student, regardless of where they are at that day, and to hold compassion for yourself as you teach them. Teaching these practices is not about perfection, or attainment of a specific outcome, but rather how you are able to make space for, and honor, whatever is present in the moment. Neither you, nor your students need to be able to sit perfectly or concentrate without falter every single day. The fact that you are practicing, or trying to practice, is all that matters. Focus will come in time.

Speak Authentically: Leading practices with an authentic voice will affect the way that both you and your students feel in the process. Allowing your own voice and personality to shine through gives you a means to connect with your students in a way that no robotic tone can. Have you ever been to a yoga class or listened to a guided meditation that you weren’t really “feeling,” or that may have seemed a little fake? When we try to be someone that we’re not, whether it is an idol or a robot, others pick up on it. Moral of the story here: don’t be afraid to be yourself. Quirks, jokes and mistakes make the process so much more relatable!

Wishing you the best of luck on your Mindful Journey!

-The ELSPAP team

Body Awareness Activity

Today we are going to practice body awareness. This means that we will be moving our attention from noticing things around us to noticing things going on inside of us. Body awareness can include paying attention to emotions and parts of the body. You might notice that some places feel different than normal. If you do, you can bring your attention to that place and imagine that all of your breath is flowing into it.8494914338_eb64e84cfd_o

We will start the practice by finding a comfortable seat. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or sit up straight in a chair depending on what is allowed in your classroom. Lift the top of your head straight up to the ceiling to make your spine long and tall. Your hands can rest either face down or face up on your legs.

If it is comfortable, gently close your eyes. We will begin to take our focus inside of the body, leaving the outside world out of our thoughts until we return to the room later. Begin to make your inhales and exhales longer. Fill up your belly on your in breath, and bring the belly in toward your spine on your out breath.

Start by bringing your attention all the way down into your toes. See if you can feel into each toe without moving them. If you’d like, you can imagine your breath traveling down your legs, into your feet, and into each toe. Eventually, the breath and focus will move into the feet too. As you breathe into your feet, pay attention to how they are feeling. Our feet carry us around almost everywhere we go, and we often don’t realize how tired they get! You can imagine that your breath in helping the feet wake up.

We will concentrate on our legs next. How do the lower parts of your legs feel? Let your in breath bring air all the way down into your lower legs. Then let your breath move up past your knees, to the upper part of your legs. Continue letting your breath travel up your body, moving to your belly. Pay attention to how your belly is feeling. Did you eat a lot of food before this practice? If so, you might want to take smaller breaths so you don’t get a tummy ache. Keep filling up the belly as you breathe in, and bringing your belly button back in as you breathe out.

From the belly, we move up to the chest. This is also the place where your heart is. Take a moment to check in with your heart. How is it feeling today? You can think about the heart as the place for your emotions too. See if you can bring all of your breath into the space around your heart, taking a few in breaths and out breaths here. From your heart, you can let your breath travel down your arms and into your fingertips, letting go of anything that isn’t making you happy.

Slowly bring the breath and focus back up through your arms and into your shoulders. The shoulders are at the top of the arms and also behind the heart at the top of your back. How are your shoulders feeling? See if you can make them feel more relaxed and open with your breath.

When you are ready, let the breath move up the neck and into the head. Notice if any thoughts come up when you get to your head. If they do, just breathe into them and let them float away. Take a few more deep in breaths and out breaths here.

Slowly let your breath return to your belly. Feeling your belly get really big like a balloon as you breathe in, and then feel it pull back toward you as you let all of the air out.

Turn your palms face down if they aren’t already, and take a few more breaths to slowly open your eyes and come back into the room.

Teachers: Can have students reflect on how the activity made them feel both emotionally and physically. Have they ever spent time focusing on their body and breath like this? This is a great way to bring down energy levels, as it is a completely internal practice.

Students: this body awareness activity is a great way to check in with your self to see how you’re doing. You can practice this every day, or maybe just when you’d like to feel a little more connected to your body.

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

Sample Featured Post

Sample Featured Post

This is a featured post that will appear at the top of the post in your homepage.  All you have to do is create a post, select the featured category, and add a featured image.  The image should be uploaded and saved to be 300px wide and 500 pixels high.

Welcome to your New Blog

Welcome to the Stanford School of Medicine WordPress Cloud.  This is a sample post to demonstrate how posts will look in the school’s current theme.  Remember to delete this post before the site is published.  If you are new to WordPress, we recommend visiting WP101 to learn about how to use the system.  As a backup, IRT’s Dedicated Web Support is able to help you as well.

Training Options


Lynda LogoLynda.com is an excellent resource for WordPress and many other web topics. See all the WordPress Lessons.  Login and use for free at https://itservices.stanford.edu/lynda


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$12/month (Use STAP Funds)


 

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Have Fun!

Blog SEO Best Practice

This WordPress theme is based on the flexible Genesis theme framework. The framework includes a full-featured SEO implementation so that you can easily configure your content to be optimized for search indexing.  See the following video to learn how to use these features:

 

Adding RSS feed of posts to your main site

It is pretty easy to add content feeds from this blog site to your web site or application.  You can read all about it at: https://websense.stanford.edu/2013/07/magically-add-wordpress-posts-to-your-website/

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When you have everything set up as you wish and some content published please go through the following steps:

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      1. Delete any example pages
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