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Invite students to come to their still, quiet place. This visualization can remind us of how the breath is our anchor to the present moment. When there is too much going on individually or collectively use this audio as a way to slow down, re-boot and come back to the task at hand.
Before engaging in the Bubble Visualization, have a brief conversation about bubbles: how they float, where they go, how long you might see them. Let students know that in the visualization the bubbles will be like thoughts. This visualization can help students see that thoughts are in a sense “things” – they are a brain activity that can be observed, acknowledged and then let go. In the same way bubbles come and go, so do our thoughts. Children sometimes experience the same ‘stuckedness’ as adults – seeing the transience is a relief and a hope when the thoughts (bubbles) seem to be more than we can handle. After the visualization, ask students what they noticed. Sometimes I’ve had students talk about how they went about poking and bursting the bubbles. It isn’t always easy, however, let go of judging how the students are with their bubbles – they are in a way letting them, and you, know how they respond to certain thoughts. It is opportunity to become aware of the feelings that come with thoughts, and the awareness that those feelings not only come, they also go.
Before the visualization, ask students if they have seen or been to the mountains. Ask them about the qualities of the mountains: Are they all the same? Are they different? Are they strong? How are they strong? Why are they special? What about people? What about you? Are we all the same? Are we different? In the visualization there is invitation to see and feel the specialness of the mountain. Ask the students to pay close attention so that afterwards, if they were asked, they would be able to say how their mountain-self is special. After the visualization, check in with a few students (not everyone needs to share) as to how their mountain is. Each mountain has its own qualities, and regardless of weather, or who is looking at the mountain, the mountain stays the mountain. The mountain is being its True Self. Each student has his/her own qualities and regardless of ups and downs, the mountain, the True Self, stays. Perhaps if there is time, have the students draw their mountain as if it is their own True Self – special qualities of being true to self, no matter who is watching.
The waterfall visualization offers a safe space to go and look at everything that is going on in ones’ life. There is a space to sit quietly, to observe and to metaphorically place into the waterfall thoughts, feelings, emotions that may be looking for space to “let go” into. This visualization is helpful when those feelings, thoughts and emotions are not easy to articulate and yet very real feelings. It helps us know there is a safe place to go to (still quiet place within) and a safe place to come from when we are ready to come out from behind the waterfall of life.
This recording is a guided Formal Sitting Practice, created for those who would like to spend a longer, more in-depth focus with the sitting practices of mindfulness
With this practice, it is a time for looking into ourselves, so arrange to spend this time with your Self, for you to:
- still the mind
- comfortably still the body
- be free of interruption e.g. cell phones, media, people coming or going
Allowing this to be a time in which we set aside the usual mode in which we operate - that of pursuing action, activities... more or less constant doing.
For this practice, consider that making this time is YOUR time. A time to sit. A time to be with your Self, with full attention, with kindness and care... to be with you just as you are, right here, right now...
Finding a space that allows your posture to be erect, a dignified posture... sitting either on the floor, on a cushion or on a chair - and of course if this isn’t possible for you, laying down with a sense of kind self respect, care and dignity.
This recording is for those who are prepared to allow a slower pace of focused awareness with the body scan mindfulness practice.
Even though this practice may bring about a state of relaxation, it is meant to be a time when you fall awake, rather than fall asleep. Bringing mindfulness to the body can help you learn what your body does and doesn’t need in order to thrive, opening the doorway to greater mindfulness of the body. The body scan mindfulness meditation is a deep investigation into the moment-to-moment experiences of the body. By bringing awareness and acknowledgment to whatever you feel or sense in the body, the body scan can be very helpful in working with stress, anxiety and physical pain.
Mindful yoga practice is an invitation to explore movement with awareness, as you may have done with breathing, body scan and eating... and those things you have chosen to investigate on your own. Being mindful of body movement creates space for us to be in close relationship to how the body moves, how it feels, what best serves the body as well as expanding awareness as we stretch into our boundaries.
Throughout the practice, listen to your body, paying close attention to what the body is saying. The directions you will hear are only a suggestion, a guide, and your body wisdom directs your best choices. It is very important you do only what is right and appropriate for your body.
The primary focus with this practice is to consciously inhabit the postures, being aware of the breath, the body movement and the felt sense of the postures. In addition to this, notice the full spectrum of thoughts, moods and emotions, both obvious and quiet, as these are the aspects of the interior landscape of awareness at any time.