• Mindful Mondays: How Does Mindfulness Help Us Connect?

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    One of the principle things we do when we practice mindfulness is connect. We connect to the present moment with kindness and curiosity. We do this by connecting to our surroundings, to each other, and ourselves with a loving heart. By practicing mindfulness we’re also helping to nurture and strengthen neural connections.

     

    Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson in The Whole Brain Child describe how this kind of connection and integration is important in the development of our brains and in having healthy, fulfilling lives. They explain that "Just as with the healthy functioning of the body, your brain can’t perform at its best unless it’s different parts work together in a coordinated and balanced way.”

     

    This healthy integration is also key to having healthy relationships. Siegel and Bryson go on to explore how this connection is essential to maintaining health and achieving success. They explore different ways to facilitate this healthy integration by bringing mindful attention to the experiences our children have. 

     

    If you want to learn more about the Whole Brain Child approach, and why it’s important for your kids, click here for a great discussion.


     

    Little Flower Yoga emphasizes connection as one of the fundamental pathways to mindfulness. When we ask our students to engage with mindfulness activities, we are asking them to connect with kindness and curiosity to their environment, to each other and with themselves. Mindfulness activities help them tune in and make sense of their experiences. The activities we offer are used to help them develop a mindful awareness of both their external world and their internal emotional state.

     


     

    We ask educators to explore connection by asking them to reflect on how connected they feel:

    • to themselves (body and mind) 
    • their colleagues
    • students or youth they work with
    • their highest ideals and intentions

     

    We ask adults to connect with youth by asking:

    • Have you truly connected to your kids today?
    • Have you let them connect to each other?  
    • Did you ask and listen to how they were feeling?
    • Have you been in touch with their guardian? 
    • Did you provide time for group work or facilitate youth centered discussions or activities?

     


    Mindfulness is connecting with the world around us, connecting to other people, and connecting to our own inner experience. 


     

    The questions below can help to bring awareness to how we’re connecting to the world at any moment, and how that connection is impacting our overall wellbeing. They might also serve as anchors when we’re having a hard time or when having strong emotions. 

    Exploring all three types of connection below can help integrate our experience of the present.

     

    The World Around Us: Our immediate surroundings such as lighting, noise level and other sensory input.

     

    • Does it feel cool or warm in this space?
    • How is the lighting?
    • What is the noise level around you?
    • Describe the landscape and/or the weather of where you are.

     

    Each Other: Our relationships, community members, friends and family 

    • How connected do you feel with the people around you right now?
    • Can you engage fully in conversation or get lost in thought?
    • What feelings or sensations are present when you engage in difficult conversations?
    • What feelings or sensations are present when you’re in large groups or one on one? Are they similar or different

     

    Ourselves: Sensations in our body, our breath, thoughts, and feelings.

    • How is the breath moving in your body?
    • What emotions are present right now?
    • Are there any parts of your body that are sore or tense?
    • Is you body more naturally still or active right now?
    • Are you having lots of different kinds of thoughts or is one or more thought more persistent?

     

    This article is part of our Mindful Mondays initiative. Receive weekly emails with instructions for the practices of the week, links to guided practices, and suggestions for implementation by registering. The program is free for all. Sign up now to access this week's recorded practices for you and your students!

     


    ABOUT ARGOS GONZALEZ:

    Argos Gonzalez is a teacher, lecturer, and mindfulness and yoga instructor.  He has 13 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY.  Argos is certified through both Mindful Schools and Little Flower Yoga (LFY), and currently serves as the director of professional development for The School Yoga Project, a program of LFY.

    For more information about Little Flower Yoga and The School Yoga Project, visit www.littlefloweryoga.com.

    Contact Argos by email at argos@littlefloweryoga.com

     

    We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. If you are interested in purchasing any of the resources mentioned above, you can help support free programs like Mindful Mondays by navigating to them through the included links. Thank you for your support!

    Read More


    Mindful Mondays: How Does Mindfulness Help Us Connect?
    Mindful Mondays: A Free Resource to Bring Mindfulness to Your School
    Mindful Mondays: What is Mindfulness and How Can it Support You?
  • Mindful Mondays: What is Mindfulness and How Can it Support You?

    Photo by Sam Kalda.

    This article is part of our Mindful Mondays initiative. Learn more and receive weekly emails with instructions for the practices of the week, links to guided practices, and suggestions for implementation by registering via this link! The program is free for all. Sign up now to access this week's recorded practices for you and your students!


    Since the "Mindful Revolution,"there has been a large emphasis on being mindful.  But the term mindfulness can be confusing since it is so commonly used. You (and your kids) might hear things like be mindful of your surroundings, be mindful of what you say, that wasn't very mindful, and other phrases that don't quite convey the fullness of mindfulness.  

    Mindfulness refers to a set of practices, habits of mind, as well as a way of being in life. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who many call the father of mindfulness and created Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, explains “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally…. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.” 

    We also like the definition Dr. Amy Saltzman offers in her book, “A Still Quiet Place.”  She describes mindfulness as “paying attention to your life here and now with kindness and curiosity.”  We like to use that definition with students by breaking down each clause and exploring them.  

    In other words what does it mean to:

    • pay attention
    • pay attention to your life
    • pay attention to your life here and now
    • pay attention to your life here and now with kindness and curiosity

    We find that most students (and adults) we work with like taking their time exploring each of those questions.  We explore by describing what paying attention is and build up to how that act of bringing awareness with kindness and curiosity supports compassion.  And by exploring the definition together, it helps to build consensus around what mindfulness is and the habit of minds one engages in when being mindful.

    Little Flower Yoga explores these habits of mind by using a five element methodology.  The mindfulness activities we offer our students help them CONNECT, BREATHE, MOVE, FOCUS, and RELAX. These pathways to mindfulness help us support social-emitonal learning, relationship building, learning readiness, and self awareness.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
     
    Our Methodology
    • Connect: Mindfulness practices to connect to yourself, the world around you, and your community
    • Breathe: Harness the power of your breath to manage your emotional and energetic state.
    • Move: Improve physical health and increase confidence, and enhance executive function.
    • Focus: Increase your capacity to pay attention and focus on the task at hand.
    • Relax: Restore alertness, manage over-stimulation, improve sleep quality.

     

    But how exactly does that support us?

    Schoberlein, in her book "Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness" explains:

    BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS FOR TEACHERS:
         • Improves focus and awareness.
         • Increases responsiveness to students’ needs.
         • Promotes emotional balance.
         • Supports stress management and stress reduction.
         • Supports healthy relationships at work and home.
         • Enhances classroom climate.
         • Supports overall well-being.

    FOR STUDENTS:
         • Supports “readiness to learn.”
         • Promotes academic performance.
         • Strengthens attention and concentration. 
         • Reduces anxiety before testing.
         • Promotes self-reflection and self-calming.
         • Improves classroom participation by supporting impulse control.
         • Provides tools to reduce stress.
         • Enhances social and emotional learning.
         • Fosters pro-socialbehaviors and healthyrelationships.
         • Supports holistic well-being.

    "Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness" explains some of the ways mindfulness can support you and your students. What we hear most adults and students say is mindfulness simply helps them slow down and catch their breath, and that makes all the difference to them."


    This article is part of our Mindful Mondays initiative. Receive weekly emails with instructions for the practices of the week, links to guided practices, and suggestions for implementation by registering. The program is free for all. Sign up now to access this week's recorded practices for you and your students!

     


     

    ABOUT ARGOS GONZALEZ:
    Argos Gonzalez is a teacher, lecturer, and mindfulness and yoga instructor.  He has 13 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY.  Argos is certified through both Mindful Schools and Little Flower Yoga (LFY), and currently serves as the director of professional development for The School Yoga Project, a program of LFY.

    Contact Argos by email at argos@littlefloweryoga.com

     

    We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. If you are interested in purchasing any of the resources mentioned above, you can help support free programs like Mindful Mondays by navigating to them through the included links. Thank you for your support!

    Read More


    Mindful Mondays: A Free Resource to Bring Mindfulness to Your School
    Mindful Mondays: How Does Mindfulness Help Us Connect?
    Mindful Mondays: What is Mindfulness and How Can it Support You?
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Mindful Mondays: How Does Mindfulness Help Us Connect?
Robert Voight/Adobe Stock   One of the principle things we do when we practice mindfulness is

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Little Flower Yoga is based in New York and provides classes in all five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County.

Tel: (212) 634-7890
Email: info@littlefloweryoga.com