Whether it is Mindful Monday, Teamwork Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, you can practice Mindfulness any day of the week! Mindfulness is awareness and attention. When we practice Mindfulness, we become more connected to our self, and we can become more connected to others with kindness and compassion.
Since the world is asking us to social distance, stay home and slow down, this is a great opportunity to practice Mindfulness in the comfort of your own home! With so much information being shared on the Media, Social Media, Newspapers, Blogs, you may feel overwhelmed with conflicting information, opinions, anxiety, fear, and stress. In these times of uncertainty, one thing is certain: You always have your breath! Mindfulness helps us to not only connect with our breath, but gives us a chance to create the space for clarity, to consciously respond than react on impulse.
The world is collectively telling us humans to practice SELF CARE by being at home. Rather than think of this as isolation, think of it as a Retreat! How can you TREAT yourself to Radical Self Care? The following are TEN ZEN Mindfulness Self Care activities that not only create Connection, but also Community among family members!
Share your Mindfulness activities with our Green Wave Family by tagging me @amyzambranoyoga and using the Hashtag: #LBfamilyYoga
- Mindful Eating and Cooking/Baking: How can you turn meal times and snack times into mindfulness? Simple: Mindful Eating! This can be done with ANY type of food. Mindful Eating helps us to be present with our food. We are able to savor the flavor, support our digestive system, and mindfully think about the process how the piece of food ended up on your plate from the farmers, grocery workers, chef, etc. Example: Mindful Eating with an Orange. Look at the fruit. What do you notice? What do you SEE? What do you SMELL? What does it FEEL like? Mindfully Peel the Orange. Examine the peel repeating the above questions. Peel the pieces apart. Repeat the sensory questions. Slowly take one small bite, and place it on your tongue without chewing it for one minute. Notice what flavors you are experiencing. Is it hard to not just bite and eat it? Slowly start to chew the orange piece. What did you notice? Continue this exercise with the remaining fruit pieces. You can apply this activity to any type of food/snack. It’s a great way to become present with your food and family around the table! Create this experience into a dining discussion. You can also apply this with cooking/baking. Mindfully read the instructions. Notice the smells/textures/sight of the ingredients.
- Go on a Mindful Walk! Remember the classic game of “Eye Spy?” Well everything old is new again! Pick a category, and have your children make a list to identify they things they find in the house. For example, “Find 10 items that are Blue. Find 5 items that are considered a quadrilateral.” Integrate what they are learning for school, with in the mindful walk. If the weather is nice, you can also play this outside! Go in the back yard see what kinds of leaves, rocks, twigs you can collect! Use inquiry and notice similarities and differences with in nature’s creations. Take it one step farther: what can you collect from your Mindful Walk and create as a recycled creation? 3D mandala? Pencil Holder? Animal Rocks? The sky’s the limit!
- Mindful Chores: How can you be mindfully present as you practice cleanliness around the house? Make washing dishes a mindful experience by slowly watching each dish, noticing the texture of the items, smell and bubbles of the dish detergent. Adding creative movement when you are vacuuming/sweeping. What clothes/books/toys do we no longer need that we can clean out from our closets to donate to those in need? In yoga philosophy, “Saucha” is the practice of cleanliness. How can we be more attentive to our space to keep it clean so we don’t spread germs? Play a song and sing while you do your cleaning to make it more engaging and mindful!
- Mindful Animal Watch: Looking outside the window, can you see the birds? What do you notice as they interact with each other? How many types of birds do you see? Do you see any chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies? Notice their movements. Can you hear their sounds? If the weather is nice, practice this activity outdoors. Based on the sounds and movements that you saw, can you create poses to connect to the animals?
- Mindful Breathing: Practice a daily breathing exercise for Mindfulness called, “Apa Japa”. Apa Japa is simply noticing your breath! Below are a few different ways to practice this breathing exercise: 1. Rub your hands together and place the on your heart. Take 3 breaths and just notice how you feel. How does your heart feel? Option to keep the eyes opened or closed. 2. Breathing Buddy: Use your favorite stuffed animal as your breathing buddy! Either lay down on your belly and place the toy on your back, lay down on your back and place the toy on your belly OR create a sitting position with the toy balancing on your body. Take 3 breaths. Notice the toy go up and down as you inhale and exhale. 3. Balloon Breath: Place your hands on your belly. Take 3 breaths and notice how your belly expands and deflates like a balloon.
- One Word Check In: Mindfully ask yourself, “How do I feel right now? If there was ONE word to describe my feelings in this moment, what would it be?” You can have your chid write or draw the word/feeling, hang it on the fridge, keep it in a journal, or if you have alphabet magnets, put the word on a magnetic board or fridge. If you have an erasable board or chalkboard, that’s another environmentally friendly way to check in. Take this activity one step further, and have your child “Check In” with a classmate or family member virtually-either by calling them, texting, Face-Timing them/Video Chat, posting in Google Classroom, Check in with their Teachers/Coaches, Post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even write an e-mail! Especially in times where it may feel like isolation, we can use technology to care for each other by virtual connection.
- Vision Boarding: This is a creative way to get clear on your goals and bring your intention to life! Mindfully design your vision by using magazines, newspapers, draw pictures, cut out words/phrases to inspire your vision! Use pictures of your goals or things that make you happy (because the happier we are, the less stressed and more clear we are to achieve our dreams) to inspire your Vision Board! Hang this on your refrigerator or your designated Virtual Learning space!
- Eye Pillows: Make your own eye pillows for mindfulness! Using a clean sock, tie a knot on the end (or use a hair tie), fill it with 1/2 cup of rice, and option to add in an essential oil. Tie the end, and you have your very own eye pillow to use for relaxation! Use it during a brain break to cover your eyes or as a neck pillow, or use it as a pillow for “desk rest” if you need a mindful moment when you are virtually learning on your computer! (You can also use this tool as a prop for breathing, by putting it on your belly or back to feel the connection with your breath!)
- Mindful Movement: Take Ten to Zen: Jump up and down to get the body moving during this entire exercise. Reach your right arm in the air and count down from TEN “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, , 4 , 3, 2, 1, 0”, Then reach your left arm in the arm in the air and count down from TEN “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, , 4 , 3, 2, 1, 0”, Then reach your right foot in the air and count down from TEN “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, , 4 ,3, 2, 1, 0”, and then reach your left foot in the air and count down from TEN “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, , 4 ,3, 2, 1, 0”. Repeat this on all 4 limbs, by counting down each time til you get to ZERO! It’s an instant way to practice mindfulness as you are connecting math to movement, shakes up the body, clears the mind, and boosts your energy!
- Mindful Moving Mudra and Mantra,”I AM PEACEFUL”: Mudras are yoga of the hands! This specific moving mudra, activates the nerve endings in the fingertips which sends a signal to the brain to have the body come to calm. Include a Mantra for extra confidence and positive power! Bring your pointer finger to your thumb and say, “I”. Bring your middle finger to your thumb and say, “AM”. Bring your ring finger to your thumb and say, “PEACE”. Bring your pinky finger to your thumb and say, “FUL.” You can also change the Mantra to “I AM AWESOME, I CAN DO THIS or any other Positive Affirmation! Practice this Mantra and Mudra with me on my video below!!