Mindfulness and Compassion for Educators
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.
Read about our ‘Restoring Schools to Health’ programs
Read about our ‘Meditation and mindfulness teacher certification program', a 10-month program that begins in May
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.