mindfulness Galleries, and practices,
sports warmups, evidence based research
Welcome to our mindfulness resource page! The concepts of mindfulness can be applied by students and adults of any age, at home, at work, and throughout global communities. Contained here are practical, differentiated, age appropriate and fun day-to-day examples. The squares below are mindfulness practices for you to use any time you want!
How it works! The way this site page works is if you are on a laptop, you can click on any of the grade level picture squares and once clicked into, how-to' instructions will appear on roll over. If you are using a mobile device, sometimes there is a little dot in the corner of the screen you have to click on. Or if it is a video, it is there for you to just chill out, relax and enjoy watching the scenery!
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is all about awareness. it's about how you breathe and how you react in situations.. It's also about being right here right now, present, observing in non judgement, with all your senses working, your mind clear and your heart pumping out kindness to yourself and others, to create compassionate action. It uses meditations, or quick Mini-tations.
Why would you want that? There are all sorts of benefits to practicing mindfulness! When you breathe better you feel better, you perform better - whether for you that's sports, dance, music, taking tests, acting, inventing, teaching, facilitating. Mindfulness practices help with better sleep, focus, less distraction, more clarity, better concentration, they generate self knowledge, insight and awareness, which promote loving kindness, compassion, and empathy, You'll worry less, and feel calmer!
these are Designed to help you mindfully breathe, see, listen, vibrate, move, communicate and teach! fun and effective training for your mind and body!
Little ones SAMPLE practices
- Butterfly Breathing - discover beauty in stillness, combines breath and vision
- Calm Abiding - find calm through sitting and breathing, traditional mindfulness practice
- Mindful Walking - a cool way to experience peace, joy through moving meditation! It uses super slow mo action
- Seeing Deeply - connect with each moment and develop a sense of inter being
- Visioning Peace - breath, give and receive peaceful feelings
- Wake Up Hands, Wake Up Eyes - awaken vital energy, and generate compassion, warm hearted kindmess
- Belly Breathing - breathing in belly rises, breathing out belly falls
- Finding Hearts - to listen with your eyes, ears and heart
- Sound Minitations - for focus and calm, a quick sound meditation
- Mindful Storytelling - mindful drawing, empowerment!
middle school age SAMPLE practices
- Feelings and Thoughts Selfies - quick pictures of your mind inside your head! :) . They are like the day to day movie of you.
- Bodyfulness - a thousands of years old practice to stretch your body and mind, while imagining infinite abundance and sharing with others!
- Deep Relaxation/Mindful Breathing - for deep relaxation, stress reduction, calm and better focus
- Eye Of The Storm - to find a place of calm amidst sometimes craziness
- Rainbows and Lightning bolts - a fun way to get to know your own vital energy and to start to learn how to give and receive.
- Toning - great for taming anxiety and worries, uses your own vocal cords, relaxes your nervous system
- Mountain meditation - a quick easy self-guided visualization to build up your resilience so nobody can knock you down!
- Positive Vibration - using tuning forks and other sound vibrational tools to tune your body, nerves and to feel a sense of harmony
- Energy Spheres - a super way to observe and look closely at your emotions and feelings and help transform them if you need to.
teens AND ADULT SAMPLE PRACTICES
- Toning - great for taming anxiety and worries, it awakens your 'Sound Body' and creates feelings of calm, tunes your central nervous system.
- Sitting In Stillness - traditional calm abiding practice, using breath; creates mental quietness and a peaceful state of mind.
- Deep Relaxation Mindfulness Meditation - super relaxing, being present, focusing on breath, lessening distracting thoughts, releasing tension.
- Breathfulness - methods of breathing, using your diaphragm, your intent, and scanning your mind and body for areas of tension or resistance.
- In The Moment - Lake - A calming guided meditation using breath and deep seeing, generates awareness! For chilling out by a lake!
- Bodyfulness - a thousands of years old practice to stretch your body and mind, while imagining infinite abundance and sharing with others!
- Mindful Listening - a really nice way to learn how to be there for others, listening with no agenda or judgement.
- Positive Vibration - using tuning forks and other sound vibrational tools to tune your body, nerves and to feel a sense of harmony.
- Clear Blue Sky - a practice for discovering your true nature and understanding impermanence of conditions.
- Blue Flower Meditation - for reducing visual chatter, and developing focus, by gazing into the stillness of a simple blue flower.
- In The Moment - Dunes - A calming guided meditation using breath and deep seeing, generates awareness! For chilling out by the dunes!
- A Mindfulness Dictionary - a collection of 321 words about mindfulness and meditation. If you learn them all, you will be a mindfulness expert!!
Relaxing videos to gaze upon
- Gentle Tide, Sparkles and Lake Dreaming - are nature relaxation Mini-tation video loops. You can watch them as many times as you wish!
here's a cool relaxing background mix
(click to play)
Sound Minitations work really well for increased mental focus and clarity, reduction of stress, and relaxation, chilling out!
Click in the bar below
Sound Minitations! Click Below to Play
Put on your ear buds or headphones. Each Minitation lasts about 30 seconds to 1 minute Play back one of the tracks located just below.
As you listen to each sound take a gentle breath in and release a slightly longer breath out. Allow your mind to focus on the sound.
Listen to the sound begin to fade, but keep listening. Listen until you perceive to not hear it anymore.
Continue to imagine the sound is vibrating inside you. (It is!) Your mind and body become naturally calm in this stillness.
Let your mind just be, in the calm, in a clear state of mind. Is like a reset button for your mind and body! Enjoy the moment!
FURTHER DETAIL on differentiated mindfulness
Differentiated Mindfulness translates to better and deeper analogous learning, Through the personal and institutional customized study and practice of mindfulness, curiosity and knowledge of self are cultivated through seeing deeply and by generating full sensory awareness. By approaching mindfulness in a differentiated learning, inter-disciplinary manner, we work towards embedding its tenets into both the individual mind/body system and the day to day work flow and interactions within an organization. Through mindful listening we create and hold a safe space; generate compassionate action and begin to transform emotions that impede progress. By identifying mindful aspirations of others we shift perceptions away from just "I" and "me" to a more collective and collaborative environment. The reflective knowledge and insight gained by inspiring and empowering your innate and intuitive self through mindfulness meditation has a lasting and profound effect on the ability to learn, and to create an environment for that learning to occur. These concepts, can be woven into curriculum.
EVIDENCE BASED RESEARCH STUDIES:
A neural circuit in the brainstem plays a key role in the breathing-brain control connection. This circuit is part of what's been called the brain’s “breathing pacemaker” because it can be adjusted by altering breathing rhythm (slow, controlled breathing decreases activity in the circuit; fast, erratic breathing increases activity), which in turn influences emotional states. Simple controlled breathing exercises help to regulate the circuit.
Stress is another area where the evidence is particularly convincing. Continued mindfulness practice results in significant lowering of activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers the freeze- fight-or-flight response. This helps to create calm.
Slowing your breathing increases “baroreflex sensitivity,” the mechanism that regulates blood pressure via heart rate. Over time, using controlled breathing to lower blood pressure and heart rate may lower risk of stroke and cerebral aneurysm, and generally decreases stress on blood vessels (a big plus for cardiovascular health).
Studies have revealed that mindfulness practice improved concentration and reduced mind-wandering. The researchers also found that mindfulness had a dramatic effect on working memory—the facility we have to manipulate stored information in order to reason and make decisions in a timely manner. One group of students that underwent a two-week course in mindfulness training boosted their scores on their GREs—the graduate school entrance exams—by more than 30%.
Research on mindfulness practice has shown an enhanced ability to self-regulate cognitive, emotional and behavioral responses. It is postulated that self-awareness (arising from increased attention to the moment-to-moment experience) and acceptance of experiences play a crucial role in self-regulation.
Neural Mechanisms research suggests that mindfulness practice is associated with neuroplastic changes in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, temporo-parietal junction, fronto-limbic network and default mode network structures. This is what allows for improved self-regulation.
Further, on the brain, meditators show increases in left-sided anterior activation (a pattern associated with positive affect (Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness).) and changes in grey matter concentrationwithin the left hippocampus (grey matter here is associated with verbal memory, learning and memory). Additionally, research supports improvements in neural processing related to attentional core processes with as little as 10 to 15 minutes of mindfulness-based meditation a day.
A systematic review of more than 20 randomized controlled trials in 2011 successfully demonstrated improvements in overall mental health, as well as its benefit for reducing risk of relapse from depression. Similarly, substantial evidence exists that mindfulness has a positive impact on anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness practice plays an important role in cultivating enduring qualities, such as selflessness, equanimity, and impartial compassion. Research has shown that as you continue practicing, these become part of your way of being. They become traits.
Poor sleep and sleep disorders are linked to a plethora of negative medical and psychiatric outcomes. Mindfulness-based interventions offer promise. Randomized, controlled trials have demonstrated a reduction in total wake time and decreases on the Insomnia Severity Index, a tool commonly used to assess for insomnia.
Mindfulness IN SPORTS
Main concepts, large brush strokes, practices and benefits:
Resilience - when you bat .333 in baseball you’ve made a lot of money, but that also means you got out more than you got on base (the other 2 of the 3 times). If you can develop practices for resilience, when you fail, you examine your actual technique, you remain steadfast, you come right back ready for the next opportunity.
Stress Reduction - the pressure of competition, expected results, your own pressure on yourself, all can create loads of stress. In sports you need to create calm within your intensity. If you are too stressed out you get brought down mentally and physically. Mindfulness practices give tools to quickly reduce stress levels.
Anxiety - we create worries and anxieties. These can take many forms; thinking about performance, the other team, something you need work on … But when you are anxious you lose focus, the thing you need the most to excel! Mindfulness practices like ‘toning’ which uses your voice, as well as breathing tools can directly reduce anxiety.
Equanimity - the ups and downs of winning, losing, staying even keeled with the day to day, slumps, victories … it is great to enjoy all the winning, but nobody ever batted 1.000, or had a perfect shooting percentage, or got a hole in one every tee, or won every game, etc (well ok, the CT women’s team did for a long while, but … ) :). The concept of equanimity and the associated mindfulness meditation practices train us to keep the ups and downs in perspective and appreciate the good and learn to respect and improve on the bad moments.
Seeing with clarity and single pointed focus - mindfulness practices that help us to focus on a single object (a ball, a play diagram, the motion of an opposing player, your own form), or that involve using an ‘in-breath’ to see a visual more clearly, all assist us to have less thought or visual distraction, and stronger focus. This helps overall and game to game performance as one’s skill sets develop better. Mindful energy spheres can also be helpful too allow you to see with new perception and perspective rather than old habits.
Breathing through form and footwork - In any sport if you break down the 4 or 5 most important form and footwork for catching, throwing, shooting, passing, serving, defending, hitting, blocking, setting your body, accelerating, …. All can be enhanced by using breath, awareness of what the mind and body and muscles are doing. By focusing on each step of a form, super slowed down this can be applied. This single pointed focus combined with repetition can be very valuable to develop consistent skills, and/or examine where you may have need to improve.
Present moment awareness - the past happened already, the future has not happened and is unpredictable, a strong ability to stay in the present moment, not be judgmental, just observe closely, and be there with all senses firing, observing, reflecting, being forgiving for yourself, putting out positivity to others on your team, and working hard each moment to optimize your ‘A’ game. These are all mindful present moment concepts and there are practices to help support the concepts.
Breathing practice for warm ups - Diaphragmatic breathing (deep belly breathing as opposed to shallow chest breathing) when doing pre game warm ups or in between sets, or plays, or quarters in a game can be really helpful to keep the mind and body calm, focused and to boost your vital energy.
Compassion and Empathy - particularly in school and in competition, balancing the quest for victory with being compassionate to others is an important goal. These mindfulness terms when put into action develop an athlete’s ability to become a role model, to set example for team mates, to respect and even at times enjoy other’s victories which may occasionally happen. They also help with compassion for self, if you did not play to your ability, to forgive yourself, not dwell on failure or loss, or a team mate and instead accept and work 100% with the situation to identify, improve and re-create a positive outcome on the next round.
All content © Daniel Lauter, Mindful Sync.
No unauthorized use or duplication permitted without permission, thanks!