Meditations for All Educators
"Just as we wash to remove yesterday's dirt from our bodies we meditate to remove yesterday's stress from our minds. A meditation practice is one the the most powerful boosts to our physical well-being, as well as to our mental and emotional health."
What is Meditation?
Meditation suffers from a bad PR problem Dan Harris says in his book,10% Happier. When you hear the word "meditation," what images or thoughts roll through that head of yours? Sitting lotus style? Zenning out in perfect bliss? Stopping thinking? That you weren't born with that strange meditating gene?
Actually, meditation is a sophisticated form of mental training. Well, it is that and so much more. We love our data in the Western world, so it is awesome that current research in neuroscience is demonstrating what contemplative traditions have known for centuries: meditation is not only good for your mental and emotional health, it essentially rewires your brain and makes stronger connections in the pre-frontal cortex (in other words, you can self-regulate strong emotions with more grace and control).
Meditation is simply you creating space to be with things, yourself, and reality as it is as opposed to how you think it should or want it to be. It is a nice little break from our tendency to "should" all over ourselves, others, and the moments in our days.
Meditation is being aware.
Meditation is paying attention.
Meditation feels good and is restorative because you practice letting go and allowing things to be as they are. For teachers who are time & attention starved (as in attention on yourself), simple "meditations" that help you train your mind and restore your balance, your sense of self, & your sanity are
listening to guided meditations (check out the one's custom made for you below)
paying attention to your feet as you walk to the copy machine
taking 10 conscious, full breaths while you wait for those copies
doing a guided body scan before bed (or right when you wake up)
taking 2 minutes to be silent and just breathe in your car right before and right after school
sitting at your desk for 5 minutes after your students leave, closing your eyes, feeling the breath in your body, the energy in the room, the gap between your thoughts
practicing self-compassion (*we love Kristin Neff's work!)
carving out 10-15 minutes in your daily schedule to just sit and be still
going for a mindful walk
Guided Audio Meditations
Awareness of Breath
In this 4 minute meditation, you will be guided to tune into the breath. It is a profound and simple practice that connects us to our body and calms our busy mind.
As teachers perpetually on the go in the classroom, it is so easy to forget that we have the most profound resource available that connects us to our perspective, sanity, and self-control...and it is right under our noses. Listen. Breathe. Re-connect to the power of your breath.
Meditation's INTENTION: To calm and reconnect you with your breath, your body, and the present moment in no time at all!
Teachers are often always in their heads. They have to be. But too much time in the head and not enough time spent out of the head makes one feel frazzled, over-whelmed, and anxious.
In this short 3 minute meditation, you will be guided to create some much needed space between all those thoughts racing through your mind. Space feels good!
Meditation's INTENTION: To reconnect you with a feeling of spaciousness in your mind. To slow down the speed of your thoughts. To calm and ground you.
Restorative BODY SCAN
It is time to douse your beautiful body with your full, concentrated attention! As educators, we can spend so much time in our heads because there is so much to always "do." A body scan helps you direct your full attention on your physical, emotional, and mental body.
This body scan is incredibly restorative-- it will guide your attention throughout your physical body. As it does, you reconnect with yourself in a way that heals BOTH the mind and the body.
Benefits of body scans:
-letting go of worry and anxiety
-increased physical and mental relaxation
-improved mental concentration
(The American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014)
Meditation's INTENTION: To calm you and bring you fully into your body. A great meditation right before bed! *And don't be surprised if you fall asleep before you are guided to feel your hips!
in the Classroom
Teaching is emotional. Anger, frustration, doubt, uncertainty....all normal emotional reactions that every teacher feels (sometimes daily!). Train your mind to be emotionally resilient to those emotionally provocative moments in the classroom.
This 15 minute meditation will teach you the fundamental
of managing your strong emotional reactions as a teacher.
Meditation's INTENTION: This is a meditation for "cognitive reappraisal." That means you will be guided through an emotional stress reaction and then brought back to you innate intuition to find the meaning/insight in your emotional reaction. Mindfulness meditation isn't all calm and zen all the time. This meditation is designed to provoke stuff to come to into your consciousness so you can heal it and grow from it.
Disclaimer:*Not the best meditation right before bed or if you are looking to just chill and relax.
Classroom Attentional Agility Meditation
As teachers, we are trained to assess our students and assess the classroom environment, yet we receive little if any training in how to self-assess in the middle of teaching. Teachers must develop attentional agility to not just their students and their classroom environments but also to their inner environments as well.
Our inner worlds as teachers directly impact how we see (aka- assess) our students, their work, and our classroom environment. This 15 minute meditation will hardwire your mind's capacity to fluidly and fluently move your attention inward to your inner state and back outward to the world around you. Trust us-- you will be amazed at what you see when you move your attention inward!
Meditation's INTENTION: This meditation is calming and grounding. It is designed to help you become agile in "open observation" and just allowing things, thoughts, emotions, or whatever arises during the meditation to be as it is without you attempting to change it. Great meditation for practicing LETTING GO.
"To work for peace and justice we begin with the individual practice of love, because it is there that we can experience firsthand love's transformative power." (hooks)
As teachers, you put your heart on the line every single day, so it is essential that you are deliberate renewing it when it feels depleted. This 13 minute Loving Kindness Meditation will do the trick!
Loving Kindness is a profound heart-centered practice that cultivates selfless-ness while bringing about an incredible shift in perspective toward love and acceptance-- for the self and others. Try this meditation after a day of teaching that tugs at your heart. It will be an great mood lifter!
Meditation's INTENTION: This meditation is designed to be healing and restorative to your heart (your greatest asset as a teacher). It is designed to put you in touch with your loving inner voice and FEEL pulses of love and kindness emanating from your core.