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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:
We ask adults to connect with youth by asking:
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.
Each Other: Our relationships, community members, friends and family
Ourselves: Sensations in our body, our breath, thoughts, and feelings.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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