3 ways to find calm when back to in school in-person school

  

By Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Blog Manager and 95-hour Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Teacher Training Graduate 

School during COVID has been no easy thing, for all involved (students, parents, educators, and administrators). Yet returning to in-person school can bring its own uncertainties, anxieties, and other ways that can block those involved from doing and feeling their best. Yoga and mindfulness is no “silver bullet”, and sometimes professional clinical support is necessary -- yet these practices can offer moments of “reset” that bring calm, focus, and a greater feeling of clarity. 

The following exercises can be easily integrated into the typical activities of a busy school day and help the young ones you care about, and maybe even yourself, feel better in the face of returning to in-person school. They’re appropriate and beneficial for all ages. Then, simply notice what can blossom from moments of greater calm and ease! 


Exercises written by Lara Hocheiser and illustrated by Nafeeza Hassan

 

Mindful Hand Washing 

This is a great way to bring greater calm and focus into a simple activity that we do each day. 

  1. Look at your hands. Notice the lines and crevices. 
  2. Turn on the water. Listen to the sounds of the water dripping into the sink. 
  3. Notice your breathing, is it slow or fast? 
  4. As you rub the soap in, take in the smells, sensations against your skin, and the sight of the bubbles you are consciously creating. As you rinse, enjoy the water and note the temperature, sensation, and possible joy you are feeling by consciously paying attention in this moment. 
  5. Take 20 seconds to fully wash your hands. 
  6. Notice if you go into autopilot, and invite yourself back to the present moment by using your five senses any time “monkey mind” begins to jump around again and call your attention! 

5-Breath Space Maker for Transitions 

  1. When a task or activity is almost done, mentally note that it is almost done. If you are with a child, state it out loud. “Math time is ending.”
  2. When it is time for an activity to end, calmly guide your child to put away the math book and other math supplies. 
  3. Take 5 slow, deep breaths together while focusing on gratitude for the activity that is ending. 
  4. Finally, notice how you feel!
  5. When you are ready to, think about what is next, what you need for the next activity, and calmly get your things and go to where you need to be.

Notice the difference between taking the space and letting activities overlap. The mess will be reduced. The mind will be clear. It’s a wonderful transition activity for teachers and parents.


“Take 5” Breathing 

This straightforward activity can “reset” us to a more calm and centered place -- try it out for yourself!  

  1. Have a tall, long spine so that you can breathe fully and deeply. 
  2. Spread your fingers on one hand wide, so that it’s in a starfish shape. 
  3. With the other hand, trace up the thumb with one finger as you breathe in. 
  4. Trace down the other side of the thumb as you breathe out. 
  5. Continue that with the four other fingers, breathing in on one side of the finger and breathing out on the other -- for a total of five breaths. 
  6. Switch hands to repeat the process, tracing up and down the other hand’s fingers with five more breaths. 
  7. Breathe normally and naturally, noticing how you feel. 


Interested in learning more about accessible ways to apply mindfulness in educational settings? Check out our Integrating Mindfulness into the School Day course, running on August 5, 2021! We’re also offering it in the Fall of 2021 (on October 7). Take it individually or as part of our 95-hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training. Questions? Email the Lead Trainer Lara Hocheiser at lara@flowandgrowkidsyoga.com, or book a call with her here!  

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