Journal writing is a great way to take five minutes for yourself. It can help reduce stress and encourages reflection. Journal writing need not follow a specific format, but for those new to journaling, having prompts and suggestions to follow can be helpful. Consider incorporating your gratitude practice or intention setting into your journal. Expand upon what you are grateful for or why your intention is meaningful.
Other things you may want to write about:
- Daily reflection
- Problems or things that are bothering you
- Whatever is on your mind at the moment!
While many of us would love to breakout the yoga mat in the middle of the day for 30-minutes of relaxation, that isn’t always practical. Instead, consider some simple yoga poses you could do right at your desk or in your classroom! Here are two examples:
- Seated Twist – sitting with your back against the chair and feet flat on the floor, breathe in while lifting your hands above your head. Breathe out and twist to the right, bringing your hands to the armrest or seat of the chair. Hold for 30-60 seconds, breathing throughout. Repeat on the left side.
- Seated Figure Four – Sit with your feet flat on the floor, towards the front of the chair. Cross your left ankle over your right thigh. Place your left hand on your left knee and your right hand on your right ankle. Gently fold forward, keeping your back straight. Hold for 30-60 seconds, breathing throughout. Repeat on the other side.
For more poses and stretches you can do at work, check out these resources:
During Deep Relaxation, you focus on more than three breaths. The goal is 100 mindful breaths while relaxing the body.
Begin by sitting comfortably or laying down on your back. Close your eyes. As you breathe in, be aware of your belly rising and expanding. As you breathe out, feel everything relax. After several breaths this way, shift your focus to different parts of the body, such as the head, hands, feet, etc. End by bringing the focus back to just the breath. Take a minute to sit calmly before returning to your day. You should feel very relaxed yet energized!
(For more information about Deep Relaxation and how to use it with your students, check out Teach, Breathe, Learn by Meena Srinivasan.)
Incorporate These Ideas With Your Music Students
- Yoga Pretzels (Yoga Cards) – The “Yoga Pretzels” are great to incorporate in elementary music classes. They use kid-friendly language and images to encourage thoughtful movement and breathing. Students can practice moving their bodies in different ways, allowing for increased creativity and expressiveness, not to mention trunk strength, which is always helpful when singing!
- Journaling – Journal writing could be combined with your mindful listening. After students finish listening to a piece of music, encourage them to write about what they noticed and how it made them feel.