Mindfulness & Meditation Pre-Requisites:
The brain is like a muscle and so is the mind. The mind is even more trainable than the body. We need the repose for the mind from meditative experiences because the world we live in constantly pulls our minds and our psyches into intense mental activity. Intense mental activity from pressures and stresses of daily life eventually strain our inner well being, not to mention our physical health.
If the mind is not thinking and reacting and if it is fully relaxed and permeated with the action or non-action, many things can be meditative. For example, playing music or dancing, or even playing chess can be meditative for a few moments. What is priceless is to experience that unity that is felt internally and physiologically when your breath, mind, heart, and body are in sync, but having it for longer than the dance, the song, or the calculative step in the chess match.
Optimal health is attained easier with a practice of meditation. It is a skill that requires stillness from the body. Try this exercise now:
What you just experienced was two pre-requisites to meditation: stillness and mindfulness. A constant measure in both mindfulness and meditation is bringing your mind back to the practice. If meditation sounds daunting to you, if it represents a foreign religion, if it has a unwanted mysterious quality, makes you feel like you or denying yourself of fun, or you think it is too challenging to learn, try: M3’s (mini mindful moments). M3’s are designed to give you a regular practice of pausing within the day to calm nerves, to remove the psyche from mental obstacles, to nurture the body & soul through breath. With practice, you too can realize how valuable just 2-3 minutes of these mini-vacations are to your peace of mind, your attitude, and overall health.
With daily repetition and thorough techniques the person that used to dislike slowing for one minute will want to take more time and the M3 becomes a M4... MANY mini mindful moments!!!
Children are no different in wanting a bigger bite of mindfulness once they have a morsel of it. In fact, they crave the calmness more than adults many times! They are very thankful for tips that help them release irritability, focus on important tasks at hand, and call upon their inner peace when they need it. They seem to “get it” easier than adults.
Karla Hollan launched a pilot program with Gulf Beaches Fitness & Yoga as well as several wonderful volunteers at the Gulf Beaches Elementary School. It was used prior to FCAT testing in the 2017/18 school year.
Karla has experience in pediatric physical therapy and has taught stress management for adults and children through yoga and meditation for almost 20 years. She uses her knowledge of the human body, experience from years with all age clients, and teaching skills to explain this special technique of mindfulness and breath-work.
The M3 program is specially designed to build upon simple skills in a consecutive three week 15 minute format. It is the perfect time to capture the attention of children age 6-12. Each session builds upon the last, so the kids excitingly anticipate a small review of the material plus an added feature that might appeal to them more than the last technique. Since each individual is different, there are three aspects of relaxation, three aspects ofcorrect external respiratory activity, and three ways to use focus that is presented in the M3.
In the school system, there are no references to yoga or meditation, although many kids seem to assume the class will include it. There is a lesson on the correct way to breathe so anatomy of the respiratory diaphragm is an important part. The kid’s teacher is present for the session and it has been reported that many teachers use the techniques from M3 in subsequent times of distraction or for exam anxiety situations.
Eventually, the body's internal regulating systems will reward you with increased health as you graduate from 'minute meditators' to 'mindfulness masters’ And of course, the ultimate goal is to slip into a meditative state and choose to sit for longer in a practice of emptying the thinking element involved with the ego mind. Try an example of M3 for adults below: