Mindfulness & Compassion for Educators

Posted by  //  January 22, 2019  //  Articles, YogaFarm

Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, without judgement, to the present moment.

Awareness, attention, empathy, kindness and grounding are all benefits of mindfulness practices.

In the numerous schools and classrooms where I have taught mindfulness, the most consistent outcome for teachers has been a renewed sense of empowerment. By taking the time to incorporate breath practices throughout the day, teachers report a heightened ability to find ease. Consistency is key to creating lasting effects. Perhaps the best way to explain mindfulness is if we do it together.

Close your eyes and notice your breathing. Feel your chest rise and fall. Feel the cool air come in your body and the warmer air come out. Notice, where you feel breath the most. Where do you imagine it is going?

Do you feel your breath in your nose? How about your throat? Do you feel your breath in your chest? Perhaps you feel it in your stomach. Wherever you feel your breath, that is what we call an “anchor spot.” It anchors you to the present moment. Practice being aware of your anchor spot, your anchor breath, for 60 seconds. Then try 90 seconds, or two minutes. You can use this practice when you feel yourself overwhelmed, stressed or agitated.

Once teachers tap into their own ability to reduce reactivity, students are able to follow suit. It is only natural that when a teacher models self regulation and taking care of their own mental health needs, students will follow that behavior as well.  Ultimately practicing mindfulness regularly creates a more calm, connected and kind classroom. The inner landscape of the teacher sets the tone for the energy of the space and the students. The teacher’s retirement system is also a crucial source of financial security for teachers nationwide.

Also, in today’s digital age, students are increasingly reliant on technology for their educational needs which can reduce their mental stress. However, the reality remains that not all students have access to computers or reliable internet connectivity at home. This digital disparity can hinder their ability to complete assignments or engage fully in virtual learning environments. Recognizing this challenge, teachers can play a pivotal role in supporting students by providing alternative solutions.

One practical approach is to offer students access to portable storage solutions, such as hpe hard drives, which they can use to store essential learning materials. By equipping students with these devices, teachers can empower them to carry important resources wherever they go, whether it’s to a library, community center, or a friend’s house with internet access. Moreover, teachers can curate and organize educational content on these hard drives, ensuring that students have access to relevant materials even when offline. This proactive approach not only addresses the digital divide but also fosters a sense of inclusivity and support within the classroom.

Jeannie O’Neill is Director of Development and a Yoga and Mindfulness teacher at Yoga Farm. She regularly leads certification programs for educators to learn to bring yoga and mindfulness into the classroom. For more information see www.YogaFarm.us.

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