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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Full Mindful Breath

Full Mindful Breath is the first practice in our Mindful Breathing Practice Series. We will use the skills we’ve learned from Belly Breathing and Glitter Globe Body Scan to try out a deeper breathing practice.

Begin by finding a comfy seat or standing position, depending on where you are and the space you have available. Make your spine even taller by reaching up through the crown of your head. Allow your eyes to gently close if that is comfortable, and bring one hand to your belly, one hand to your heart.

Begin to notice your breath. Is it big or small? Long or short? See if you can begin to change your breath into Belly Breathing. Fill up your belly on the in-breath, and let it become empty on the out-breath. Do this for three more rounds.

On the fourth round, begin to fill up your belly on the in-breath, and then see if you can fill your body up with breath even more, so that the in-breath fills up your heart space too! You might notice the hand on your heart lift up a little at the top of your in-breath. On the out breath, empty from your heart space, all the way down to your belly, and out of your nose! You might notice that when you got to the top of your breath, your belly pulled in a little bit. That is okay! Every body is different, so it is okay if your belly didn’t pull in a little bit.

Let’s practice one more time together. On the in breath, imagine that the air you take in is like a wave. It moves down your nose, into your belly to fill it up, then keeps going all the way up to your heart space. Your heart space is like the sea shore. Once it gets there, just like a wave, you can hold your breath for just a second, then let it roll out of your body, starting at your chest, moving through your belly and out of your nose.

Now try this five more times on your own! Notice how your hands may lift and lower when you take your in-breath, and out-breath.

When you finish the fifth time, close your eyes and notice how you feel.

[teacher bring them back after everyone has been finished for 30 seconds- 1 minute depending on how still they are]

How did that feel? What did you notice?

Teachers Tip: It might be helpful to show students a clip of an ocean wave before or after practicing to help them visualize the practice. Also remind students that if the breath is uncomfortable, they can stop at any time (ex. if a student has really bad allergies, is sick, or has asthma).

Students Tip: You can practice this breathing any time you’d like. It can help you hit the pause button if there’s a lot going on, and come back to a place of calm.

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Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Over the next few weeks we will introduce Mindful Breathing Practices as a three-part series.

  1. Full Mindful Breath
  2. Equal Breath
  3. Different Nostril Breath

We have already practiced some different kinds of breath and body awareness, and the Mindful Breathing Practice Series will build off of the ones we’ve learned before.

Practices that will be helpful to review for the coming weeks are:

  • Belly Breathing
  • Glitter Globe Body Scan

These practices will be referred to in the Mindful Breathing Practice Series, so it will be very helpful for teachers and students to be familiar and comfortable with them before moving on.

The most important thing to pay attention to with your students is how they are feeling. If a practice doesn’t feel good in their body, they are always welcome to stay at an earlier practice.

Stay tuned for the series!

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Take a Cool Down Breath

Take a Cool Down Breath

Today’s lesson is a simple tool to help cool you down when your body, mind, or emotions are feeling hot hot hot! Sometimes we feel really warm in our bodies on a sunny day or after sports or recess. Sometimes we feel like our minds are working overtime and we’re overheating with our thoughts. Sometimes our emotions might feel so powerful like they’re going to burst right out of us! This practice gives you the chance to take a Cool Down Breath, and notice the changes in your body, mind and feelings when you do.

To begin, lets start with a practice that gets you warm in your body. This is an easier example to notice, so we’ll stick with that one with our practice today. Begin by taking 20 jumping jacks, or running in place for 20 seconds. Then pause, close your eyes and notice how your body feels. Odds are that it is probably a little warmer than it was before.

Once you notice your body, take your attention to your breath. There are a few steps to take Cool Down Breath:

  1. Keep your eyes closed to keep your mind cool and calm
  2. If you can, make a straw shape with your tongue. If you can’t make this shape, press your tongue to the back of your top teeth.
  3. If you have your tongue in the shape of a straw, breathe in through your straw for 5-4-3-2-1 and fill up your belly. Hold the breath for 3-2-1 and slowly let it go. Try that 3 more times.
  4. If you have your tongue pressing into the back of your teeth, open your mouth really wide and inhale through the sides of your mouth to fill up your belly for 5-4-3-2-1. Hold the breath for 3-2-1 and slowly let it go. Try that 3 more times.
  5. It will probably sound pretty silly! Don’t worry, we’re all practicing together.
  6. At the end of your third round, keep your eyes closed and notice how your body feels now.
  7. Now open your eyes and raise your hands to share what you noticed!

Teachers: this can be a fun interactive practice for right after lunch, recess, or on a hot day to cool kids down a little bit.

Students: you can also try this breath when your mind or emotions are feeling really worked up. Practice for 5 rounds, then sit and notice how you feel.

Glitter Globe Feelings Scan

Glitter Globe Feelings Scan

We all have times when we get really powerful feelings. Sometimes they may seem like they are more under our control that others. Sometimes they can seem scary too! The Glitter Globe Feelings Scan is a practice of letting your feelings settle so that you can choose how you want to respond to a situation. Unlike the practice with our Glitter Globe Mind Scan, this time we are sitting with our feelings instead of letting them float by like our thoughts. A lot of times we think it’s not okay to have angry or sad feelings, but those are a part of us just like every other thing we feel! When you have this, or any other feeling, it may seem like someone took the Glitter Globe and shook it up (Teacher: shake up the Glitter Globe). We might feel it all over the place, just like the glitter floating all around the Globe. If we sit with that feeling, and keep noticing what is going on, we can learn to let the glitter settle down to the bottom. We can follow that feeling as it goes from a glitter storm, to resting glitter. We are able to see things more clearly when the glitter isn’t floating all around.

Begin this practice by finding a cozy seat. You can be cross-legged on the floor or sitting up tall in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your hands to rest on your knees and make your spine really tall by breathing in deeply and reaching up through the top of your head. Now gently close your eyes and begin to take your attention to how you are feeling in this moment, right now. Maybe you are happy or sad, angry or scared. Anything going on inside is important. Think about the feeling you are having right now, really focusing on what you notice in your body as you feel it. Now
imagine that feeling is a Glitter Globe inside of you. As you notice what you are feeling, imagine that your Glitter Globe has just been shaken up. Notice the glitter storm, and keep following the as it trickles down. Keep noticing your feeling and follow the glitter as it settles all the way down to the bottom. See if you can let follow the feeling until it goes from a glitter storm, to resting glitter, and a clear Glitter Globe.

This is a practice we can use with any feeling if we want to notice what is going on inside of us. It can be especially helpful if you are feeling really angry or really excited and want to do something right away. Sometimes it is good to let out glitter storm settle a little bit before we make a decision or do something, and the Glitter Globe Feelings Scan is one way to do that.

Next time you have one of these feelings, try practicing the Glitter Globe Feelings Scan and write down, draw, or tell your teacher or a parent what you noticed.

Teachers Tip: This is a great practice to remind a student of when they are really upset or really excited to do something. You can guide them through the practice again if they don’t remember, or cue them to follow the glitter storm until it settles.

This can also be a good practice to do before a field trip or big event at school where kids might normally forget the rules because they are so excited. If a student is feeling angry, this is a wonderful practice to do in a rest nest until they feel their anger glitter storm settle as well. Students can definitely use a real Glitter Globe as a visual aid, rather than imagining it internally. Just cue them to have a soft gaze rather than closing their eyes completely.sparkler-918836_960_720

Glitter Globe Mind Scan

Glitter Globe Mind Scan

This week is the second of our Mindful Glitter Globe Activities. It is called the Glitter Globe Mind Scan. The Glitter Globe Mind Scan is tool to use when there are a lot of thoughts going on in your mind, or if you are having a lot of one thought in particular that might be making you upset, worried, or anxious. We suggest you use your Mindful Glitter Globe for this practice, but it can be done with your imagination or a video of a Glitter Globe too.

Teachers: begin with a demonstration using the Mindful Glitter Globe. You can explain that sometimes when we have a lot of thoughts in our head, our minds can look like a shaken up Glitter Globe (Shake up the Glitter Globe here). This is a practice to help us notice what is being shaken up inside our heads and to take a step back to let it all settle down before we make any decisions. It can seem really easy to react to something that is frustrating or overwhelming, but we are learning to use the Glitter Globe in our minds to help us respond. The difference between these words is that you do one with thought (or Mindfulness), and the other without thinking too much about what might happen.

Think about a time that someone upset you. Did you say something mean to that person and felt bad right after? That is an example of reacting. On the other hand, did you take a few moments or breaths to figure out what you wanted to say to someone? That is an example of responding. We can use the Glitter Globe Mind Scan to help us find space to respond to things that make us upset or worried instead of reacting to them.

Lets close our eyes together and practice following our thoughts as they settle down. Remember the Glitter Globe that was shaken up earlier? Imagine that the inside of your mind looks like a shaken up Glitter Globe right now- with your thoughts moving all around. Practice Thought Clouds here and watch your thoughts as they float by, without giving them any names or calling any of them anything (good, bad, happy, sad). Let your thoughts to keep on floating, without trying to figure them out, make them stay, or go away. Imagine your thoughts are the glitter in the Glitter Globe, slowly floating their way down to the bottom. See what it feels like to not have to do anything but notice.

Take a few more moments to practice this. You can always start again from the top, following the Glitter in your mind as it floats its way down.

Try this practice out next time your feel upset or nervous or worried. Instead of putting a label or name on your thoughts, or feeling like you have to do something right away, practice the Glitter Globe Mind Scan and let all of those thoughts float their way down. Then notice how you feel, and hopefully you’ll have a little more space to respond to what is going on around you with Mindfulness.14582291897_40a76d01f0_o-1

Glitter Globe Body Scan

Glitter Globe Body Scan

 

Today’s practice is called the Glitter Globe Body Scan. If you weren’t able to make a Mindful Glitter Globe, you can definitely use your imagination to join the practice. If you have a snow globe or something similar, feel free to use that too.

To begin, introduce the Mindful Glitter Globe to your students. Turn over the jar in front of them so they can see the glitter float its way down. Have them watch as the glitter in the jar as it travels all the way down to the bottom. In this practice, we will be following our attention, just like the glitter, as it travels down our bodies to the ground.

To begin, find Mountain Pose. Feet as wide as your hips, arms resting along your sides, palms facing forward. Lift up through the very top of your head to make your spine nice and tall. Let the eyes gently close, and notice your breath. Feel your belly get bigger as you breath in, and feel your belly empty as you breath out. Take three more belly breaths here.

Now bring your attention to the very top of your head. The place you lifted to make your spine long and tall. Imagine that you are standing inside of a Mindful Glitter Globe, and the glitter has just been turned over above your head. See if you can follow the glitter as it travels down your body here, becoming mindful of everything in its path. Start by noticing the top of your head, where the glitter began. Then follow it as it travels down the muscles of your face, maybe scrunching up your face muscles and releasing here (so no glitter gets stuck). Feel the glitter travel down the back of your head too, moving over your shoulders and down your back. See if you can roll your shoulders back and down to help the glitter move more easily on its path.

Follow the glitter as it rolls over your heart space, and down across your belly. Take a big breath in to the belly here, and a deep breath out. Imagine the glitter brushing down the fronts and backs of your legs, touching your knees, and floating all the way down to your toes.

Take a big inhale through your nose, exhale out of your mouth and blow any leftover glitter away!

Take another deep breath in here and grow really tall. Then for good measure, shake out your arms and legs, just to be sure there’s not glitter left.

Teachers: It might be fun to bring a little glitter in and offer students a sprinkle of it to remember the activity!

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Making a Mindful Glitter Globe

Making a Mindful Glitter Globe

Teachers: a Mindful Glitter Globe is a fun and visual way to teach your students about Mindfulness. They are inexpensive to make, and can be used for many mindfulness practices. The following post is a tutorial to make a Mindful Glitter Globe, which will be used in our practices for the following weeks. You can still participate without the Mindful Glitter Globe, but its use is highly recommended, as it provides an opportunity to teach the abstract concept of Mindfulness from a concrete modality.

This is also a great activity to introduce to your class during an art day. Kids can even bring in their own jars from home. All you would have to supply is the water and glitter!

Supplies needed:

  • Medium to large size Mason jar with a secure lid.
    • Empty spaghetti sauce jars, jam jars, and other large glass jars are great a great resource that won’t cost extra money!
    • *If sending these home with kids, plastic jars are a good alternative to glass.
  • Water
  • Glitter

Assembly instructions:

  • Fill up the jar with water
  • Add glitter
  • Screw on lid securely

We will use the Mindful Glitter Globe as a metaphor for processes in the body, mind and feelings. However, you can certainly find other creative ways to use it. Let your imagination be your guide, and stay tuned for next week’s post.

Note: you may have to change out the water and glitter eventually.

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