Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally. It develops our self-awareness, emotion regulation skills and feelings of empathy and compassion. Mindfulness is simple to learn! Try this body scan in either the classroom or the staffroom. Start with some tummy breathing, and once everyone is comfortable, have one person read the script in a calm, slow voice. It should take five minutes.
Sparklers Body Scan
Today we are going to try a mindfulness activity by noticing the sensations in your body while you’re relaxing. Sit comfortably, rest your arms in your lap and place your feet flat on the floor. When you’re ready close your eyes.
Notice how your feet feel on the floor. Can you feel the weight of your feet? Then focus on your toes and move your attention from toe to toe.
Bring your attention to the tops of your feet and toward your ankles. If you are wearing socks, can you feel them on your ankles?
Move towards your knees and focus on what your lower leg feels on the way. Do your feel your clothing, or are your legs bare? Move to your thighs. Can you feel them on the chair? What’s this sensation like?
Let’s move to where your back is touching the chair. Move up your back to your shoulders and notice if they are tight or relaxed. Take some deep breaths. Whatever you feel, just notice it and remain still.
Move your attention to your arms, feeling your elbows, your forearms. Let your attention rest for a moment on your hands. Do they feel light or heavy? Warm or cold? Can you feel each finger?
Now go toward your tummy and notice how it feels to breathe in and out. Notice the feeling of air as it passes through your nostrils. Is it warm or cool? Is your jaw clenched or loose? Just notice what you are feeling and continue to breathe through these sensations.
Slowly notice your whole body, scanning from top to toe. As you go through your day, see if you can notice some of these sensations in your body.
When you feel ready, open your eyes and notice what is around you.
This body scan is from Sparklers – an Aotearoa New Zealand-designed, free online toolkit of wellbeing activities for tamariki Years 1 to 8. It’s used by more than 8,000 teachers across the country to support tamariki to learn about their wellbeing, manage emotions and be good friends. Check out the over 70 activities at www.sparklers.org.nz.
Illustrations: Anieszka Banks.