I have found that cultivating positive energy in our life is about respecting our body’s signals. But as teachers, working in an intelligence profession we are so used to residing in our head that we can easily lose touch with those signals as we are exposed to high levels of stimulation, information overload and requisite mental activity – minute to minute. This can easily result in a feeling of detachment from our bodies as we are stuck amidst the fluctuations of our mind – which generally reside somewhere in the past or the future, rarely the present.
The first step towards residing in the present and to be present for our students is to truly exist in our bodies and get out of our heads – at least for a little while. Breathing meditation is a fabulous practice that connects us back to our breath (and so too our body) instantly and leads to a feeling of “grounded-ness”. But for those of us with boisterous cerebral action it can be disturbingly hard to do.
Below is a guide to beginning the practice of breathing meditation and a grounding visualisation. Start with a few minutes and increase this gradually – don’t put pressure on yourself to do 20 minutes because it won’t happen. Even a few minutes a day can have an impact – try it for a few minutes at recess and /or lunch in the corner of your classroom. I’ve even gone out to my car to do it for a longer period so as not to be disturbed.
Find a quiet place with no interruptions. Shut the door and turn off all devices. Sit in a relaxed position with your eyes closed and tune into your breath – become conscious of breathing in and breathing out. You may like to place your hands on your belly and feel it rise and fall with the breath or focus your attention at the base of the nostrils and feel the breath going in and out. Initially deepen your breath and slow it down.
You will have thoughts come into your mind (most likely a ridiculous amount) so each time you catch your attention wandering continue to bring the mind back to focus on the in and out of your breath. Continue this for as many minutes as you can. Count your breaths if this helps you to focus.
With each breath begin to focus your awareness downward, right into the ground. Picture roots growing from the soles of your feet as well as from your spine / tail bone and planting themselves down into the soil. Visualise them growing deeper and deeper as they flow through soil and strata, down to bedrock. Watch as these roots wrap around rock and anchor themselves (and you) to the earth. Breathe here. With each in breath it can be really energising to visualise nutrients and energy from the earth flowing upwards. I picture this as a white light moving up the roots and into my body. Continue as this energy flows up with every in breath. Up through your feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, abdomen, waist, chest and upper back and shoulders. Go slowly. Then down each section of your arm slowly and into your fingers. It flows up through your neck, face and out through the top of your head. Continue to sit and breathe here feeling the energy in every part of your body. Connecting back to each part in turn.
Stay as long as you can.
When you are ready to return to your duties slowly bring some movement into your hands and feet, stretch a little and open your eyes. Try and take this centred feeling back into your day.
Give it a try – the roots part might sound a little odd if you’ve never done anything like this but it is really effective. By tuning into our breath and bodies like this a few times a day we can begin to hear the messages and feelings that we have been too busy to hear.