This chapter reviews yoga poses (asana), breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and meditation. Yoga postures have many benefits such as increased flexibility, strengthened muscles, enhanced balance, improved immune system, better posture, enhanced lung function, slower and deeper breathing, and relaxation of the nervous system. Poses are typically done in concert with deep, diaphragmatic breath. In yoga breathing, the breath is used to calm and strengthen the nervous system and enhance concentration. Due to the importance of yogic breath in self-regulation, many beginner yoga sessions start with instruction in diaphragmatic breathing. Relaxation exercises create a bridge from the more active, external practices of yoga to the internal, meditative practices. School-based yoga is focused on empowering students to be the regulators of their own bodies, minds, and behaviors. Self-massage is a great tool for showing students how much they can help their bodies relax.
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- Go to chapter: The Mindful Learner: The Role of Mindfulness in Educating for Self-Regulation and Engagement
This chapter presents the basic principles of mindfulness as they can be applied to student self-regulation and engagement in schools. It explicates the definition of mindfulness and how mindfulness works in the classroom to help increase self-regulation and active engagement in learning throughout the school day. The chapter explores the basic characteristics of mindfulness. Lutz et al. found that mindfulness is generally used with three meanings. These are a soteriological or spiritual path contextualized in therapeutic health-promotion terms, a mental trait, and a single cognitive process commonly trained across multiple human activities. Mindful practices are believed to strengthen the functioning of the prefrontal orbital cortex (PFC), which is known for executive control, inhibition, decision making, and purposeful intention. Mindfulness combined with wisdom serves personal effectiveness. It can also be viewed within the context of three central characteristics: impermanence, nonattachment, and not-self.
- Go to chapter: Yoga as Embodied Self-Regulation and Engagement: From Traditional Practices to School
This chapter covers the definition of yoga, traditional forms and structures of yoga, and addresses general considerations related to the provision of yoga in schools. Yoga provides a structure of strengthening the body, relaxing the nervous and emotional systems, and bringing one-pointed, bare awareness to the present moment. Traditionally, yoga is described in older texts in terms of seven main paths namely Hatha, Raja, Jnana, Mantra, Karma, Bhakti, and Tantra. Yoga in schools is a set of mind-body practices for well-being and student engagement: postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. To be secular, yoga instruction follow several key grounding principles: teach practices that are research based, prioritize access and inclusion, eliminate religious content, and align with legal imperatives and secular ethics. A yoga teacher using a secular approach to yoga addresses important social-emotional values that enhance emotional and relational well-being within the context of a purely secular program.
- Go to chapter: Yoga Practice to Cultivate the Self Off the Mat: Managing Feelings and Broadening Competencies
This chapter reviews the ways to teach and practice yoga off-the-mat in classroom. It also reviews broad-and-build theory as a rationale for engagement in informal yoga practice. The chapter explores the role of emotions in our lives from a yoga perspective. Emotional regulation is inextricably connected to physical stability and homeostasis. In Linehan’s manual for dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), sleep, nutrition, and exercise are key components of the emotional regulation facet of treatment. In Linehan’s DBT, self-soothing, as a bottom-up approach, takes the form of sensate focus. Stop refocus breath (SRB) is a simple breathing technique that can be applied as needed or used prophylactically to down-regulate the physical and emotional systems. The chapter addresses four immeasurables such as equanimity, joy, loving-kindness, and compassion both in mindful and yogic traditions. Body awareness is an integral aspect of yoga.
- Go to chapter: School-Based Mindfulness Protocols: Manualized and Structured Mindfulness Programs for Schools
This chapter focuses on the current state of mindfulness in school research as well as review several mindfulness programs and interventions for school-age children and adolescents used in the school settings. In 2014, Zenner et al. systematically reviewed the evidence regarding the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on psychological outcomes, using a comprehensive search strategy designed to locate both published and unpublished studies. In a review of meditation interventions in schools, Waters, Barsky, Ridd, and Allen reviewed evidence from 15 peer-reviewed studies with respect to three student outcomes: well-being, social competence, and academic achievement. A conceptual model is put forward positing that meditation positively influences student success by increasing cognitive functioning and by increasing emotional regulation. Meditation and mindfulness techniques appear to help both cognitive functioning and stress management. Early mindfulness programs include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
This chapter provides the methodology for informal mindfulness techniques. It addresses the cultivation of thought processes and attitudes, like being in inquiry and cultivating thoughts, feelings, and actions. The chapter presents instruction for and examples of informal practices. Informal mindful practices are like bringing the surfer mind to everyday activities. They are defined as the daily cultivation of mindful awareness, inquiry, and a half smile. Within the mindfulness tradition, mindful awareness is the primary intention for practice and for daily living. The mind-o-meter is a tool for self-awareness and self-regulation. In the classroom, the sense doors can be explored in informal mindful ways. Informal mindful awareness involves an awareness of the interconnection of all things. Mindful journals are distinct from typical journals in that they are a writing of what students have become present to, rather than a running narrative. Mindful communication can build from English and language arts coursework.
This chapter presents a mindful and intentional review of personal self-care. Self-care, mindful, and yogic practices can provide a foundation for self-regulation. The Mindful Self-Care process involves four steps: mindful awareness of self-care as essential to well-being, assessment of self-care domains, assessment-driven self-care goal setting, and engagement in self-care behaviors. Norcross and Guy identify nutrition and hydration as critical aspects of self-care. Self-awareness and mindfulness are fundamental and unique features of mindful self-care. The physical and medical domain of self-care addresses the medical care and keeping of the body. Self-care is associated with positive physical health, emotional well-being, and mental health. The Mindful Self-Care Scale-Short (MSC-S) is the result of an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) of a large community sample. The scale addresses six domains of self-care: physical care, supportive relationships, mindful awareness, self-compassion and purpose, mindful relaxation, and supportive structure.
- Go to chapter: The Mindful Classroom: Creating Supports and Structure for Mindful Teaching and Learning
This chapter presents a brief overview of the nature of mindfulness practices i.e., beginner’s mind, the four foundations of mindfulness, and the process of meditation, guidance for preparing student’s classroom, and tips for delivering mindfulness practices in school. McCown, Reibel, and Micozzi describe four foundations of mindfulness practice: body, feelings, mind, and mind objects. Supporting mindfulness practices in the classroom, extends to formal teaching of skills in the classroom, and expands to the interweaving of mindfulness throughout the school day. Some schools have a mindfulness and yoga teacher and schedule social-emotional learning time into the students’ academic day. Mindfulness can be integrated into the school day or formally taught as skills in a more structured and extended lesson or practice. Mindfulness practice in the classroom offers students an opportunity to practice valuing the reflective and intention process.
- Go to chapter: Dysregulation to Disorder: Development, Risks, and Outcomes Related to a Lack of Self-Regulatory Skills—A Three-Tier Approach
Dysregulation to Disorder: Development, Risks, and Outcomes Related to a Lack of Self-Regulatory Skills—A Three-Tier Approach
The three-tier model is incredibly effective for providing services to all students, especially as school personnel are frequently the first line of defense against emerging academic, behavioral, and mental health problems, applied within the school framework. Risk and disorder commonly co-occur with ineffective self-regulation and care within the internal system. Children with attention, impulsivity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been found to respond to mindful and yoga interventions. Bullying and peer victimization are serious concerns for students, parents, teachers, and school officials. Self-harm is a substantial health problem among adolescents; in fact, rates of self-harm are higher in the teenage years. Substance use and substance use disorders are a significant problem among students who are associated with other problem behaviors such as behavioral disorders, violence, school failure, and school dropout. Students report engagement in risky behaviors ranging from smoking, to sex, to failure to self-protect in risky situations.
- Go to chapter: Mindfulness on the Cushion: Formal Mindfulness Practices in Educating for Self-Regulation and Engagement
Mindfulness on the Cushion: Formal Mindfulness Practices in Educating for Self-Regulation and Engagement
This chapter reviews specific formal mindfulness-based practices that can help teachers and their students embody self-regulation, self-care, and intentional, reflective engagement. It explores structured practices that can be used with their students as well as support the development of their own mindful path. The chapter presents the practices in terms of developmental accessibility. It then provides examples that illustrate the utility of these practices with specific struggles, in-class challenges, and disorders. Meditation is one of the formal mindfulness practices. Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program utilizes a few different types of concentration meditation. Within the 8-week MBSR program, meditators engage in breath awareness, body scan exercises, walking meditations, and mindful eating. The body scan is a good practice for integrating mind and body. Mindful eating can be both a formal and informal practice. Mindfulness practices are a set of tools for self-regulation and stress management.