Another Option: SoundCloud Meditations For Students

Here is another option, a SoundCloud resource made by our predecessors in our independent study. All of their meditations are very well-written narrated with soothing voices and often include peaceful background music to mindfully attend to.

My personal favorite of their collection of meditations is their My Cloud Meditation

This meditation is a guided visualization activity, in which one is a grassy meadow and floats in a bubble into the sky. Please do check out this SoundCloud because it has beautifully done meditations.

An Option: SoundCloud Guided Visualizations

Our SoundCloud site finally has a few guided visualizations uploaded!

 

The first is a guided visualization to the beach, complete with sounds of the beach:

 

The second is a guided visualization of a beautiful waterfall of white light, that also serves as a body scan and progressive muscle relaxation activity:

 

If you’d like, use these guided visualizations whenever you’d like to relax and take a break. Remember, that our SoundCloud site can always be accessed in the menu bar above.

An Exercise: Breath of Joy

Ever felt like you just need a quick burst of energy to continue with your day? Find yourself going for the umpteenth cup of coffee or energizer drink? Well here is an exercise you can try to help you feel alert and bring back focus. It is called the breath of joy. There are four parts to it. Make sure you have space  and are standing in an isolated space as to not disturb anyone. This exercise entails you to take three short inhales and exhaling in one big “ha!”.

Each inhale has an arm movement:                                                                                 

1. arms lift to the front-inhale,

2. arms move to the side-inhale,

3. arms swing upward-inhale, and

4. swing arms and upper body down-exhale “ha!”

It may sound silly but this exercise will have you smiling or laughing after the first try. We have tried this activity with first and second graders and find that it would work well when students need a boost of energy or even when they are jittery and need to bring back focus to the tasks at hand. Overall, the exercise is suitable for anyone who needs a little burst of joy!

An Exercise: Om Chanting

Today, I would like to share an activity that my high school yoga teacher, Ms. Mary Ann Marrano, taught me. It involves the chanting of om. This sound sends vibrations throughout the face and body as well as into the air around the body, which can be quite invigorating.

First, how is om pronounced? The O is a long O sound that lasts for a very short period of time with an open mouth. The M is a short m sound that lasts very long with a closed mouth. The M continues for as long as the out-breath. Here is an example of how om sounds at 1:35: 

Get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths before starting the om chanting. Once you are ready, take a breath in and begin your om. Extend the m sound for as long as comfortably possible. Be mindful of the sound coming from your mouth and the vibrations in your chest and nasal bone. Pay attention to the affect of the om vibrations on your body.  Continue this for as long as you want, with careful attention. (In yoga class, we did 3 oms in total but you may do more.) After, take a few deep breaths before opening your eyes.

When this activity is done together in a large group (i.e.  in a class of students), the oms interweave and become a song of energy. It’s truly an amazing experience to be a part of so I highly recommend to do this activity in a group.

An Exercise: Flashlight of Attention

Follow Dr. Amy in the video below as she facilitates the direction of your flashlight of attention to the breath, body, sounds, and feelings:

I love Dr. Amy’s use of a flashlight as an analogy for one’s direction of attention. If this concept is introduced in the classroom, it might be helpful to bring in a flashlight as realia for students to see as well as to demonstrate the concept using an actual flashlight for students to understand. Hence, it would be very easy for even young children to comprehend and provides a visualization for older students as well. Even though the video above is less than 5 minutes long, more time can be spent in the directing the flashlight of attention on anything, whether it’s the breath or everyday tasks. Of course, this concept of the flashlight of attention isn’t exclusively for children. It can also be used for all ages in bringing attention to anything.

Source: The Still Quiet Place

An Exercise: Traffic Jam Meditation

Do you remember the standing-in-line meditation? Below is a meditation akin to it called the traffic jam meditation. Whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in a traffic jam, feelings of annoyance and frustration may arise. Notice and accept these feelings. But at the same time, recognize these situations are out of your control. However, your approach to and feelings regarding these situations are in your control. Hence, think of this mantra to feel calmer and refreshed after focusing on the breath and sending loving-kindness to others.

Breathing in, I follow my in-breath. 
Breathing out, I follow my out-breath.
Breathing in, I know everyone is trying to get somewhere. 
Breathing out, I wish everyone a peaceful, safe journey.
Breathing in, I go back to the island of calm in myself. 
Breathing out, I feel refreshed.

Source: Planting Seeds

An Exercise: Mindful Food Writing

We recently had a post on chocolate meditation which ties into mindful eating. This week, we taught first and second graders about mindful eating to practice focusing on taste. There are some extended activities which students can engage in that involve mindful writing about food. They can try describing how food looks, smells, and tastes using color language and/or drawings in a designated mindful journal if available.  Another activity could be a “how-to paragraph” about mindful tasting. Writing 4 sentences and using first, next , then, and finally, they would choose a food to taste and go about taking notes on how to look at it, hold it, pick it up, feel it, taste the food in your mouth and chew it. Before each activity, whether at home or school, students should take at least five mindful breaths for focus and get into their “mindful bodies”. This activity was provided by our professor, Mary Lee Griffin, at Wheaton College.

An Option: Brain Breaks

At the “gonoodle” website (https://www.gonoodle.com/), teachers can find exercises that can help them calm the classroom or energize their students as they see fit throughout the day. Thus far, we have been working with a first and second grade classroom, teaching them different tools for their mindful toolboxes. Along the same lines as our classroom exercises is the calming exercise, called “airtime”. It is a breathing exercise that helps calm students and regain focus. As they practice breathing in and out, they ‘travel’ across the country (U.S) in an air bubble learning different state facts. In addition to this exercise, there are others that help students get re-energized such as “to the Maximo” which has students get up and stretch their bodies. Such an activity would be a part of mindful movement as long as students were focused on how their bodies were moving, how it made them feel, and the effects the activity had on their whereabouts afterward. The activities only take five minutes and if utilized efficiently, can have great results.

Because when kids are active throughout the day, they can be themselves: awesome, engaged, ready to learn.

An Exercise: Befriending Meditation

When life gets a little rough and you’re feeling a little down – sad, angry, lost or lonely – consider listening to and using this nine-minute befriending meditation. It is a variation of the loving-kindness meditation. Wish yourself well with the following mantra:

May I be safe and free from suffering. May I be as happy and healthy as it is possible for me to be. May I have ease of being.

Eventually, extend the same to others:

May all be free from pain and suffering May all be happy and healthy. May all of us have ease of being.

Love and friendship can be given to and experienced by all living beings, including you. So be “just as you are, complete and whole.”

An Exercise: Sending Loving-Kindness

Loving-kindness is a form of love characterized by acts of kindness. In loving-kindness meditation, words, images, and/or feelings evoke a loving-kindness and friendliness toward oneself and others, including enemies and strangers. Through the recitation or thinking of phrases of a loving-kindness script, loving-kindness and loving wishes are expressed and radiated. Consider trying this loving-kindness practice by Gregory Kramer of the Metta Foundation. The purpose of this practice is to

Send loving-kindness to yourself
Really love yourself.
Want yourself to be happy.

Although it is designed to be taught to children within the family context, the same script can be modified and used for people of all ages within different contexts. There are also many other loving-kindness meditations and scripts available, such as Jack Kornfield’s Meditation on Lovingkindness and Venerable Sujiva’s Beginning Practice of Loving-Kindness.

May you be filled with loving-kindness. May you be happy. May you be really happy. May you be at peace. 

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