• 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!


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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