Mindfulness

Mindfulness Defined? 

Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment,
and non-judgmentally


Shinzen Young:
Threefold skill set working together:
(1) Concentration power, (2) Sensory Clarity, (3) Equanimity


Bring awareness to our experience:
Mindfulness can be applied to our senses, thoughts and emotions by using sustained
attention and noticing experience without over-identifying


Student definition:
K-5th Grade:
"Be here now ... Not thinking about the future or the past but here in the now"

Older students:
"Noticing what is happening right now with no judgement"

My journey

The combination of curiosity of breath support (while studying vocal pedagogy) and my mothers anxiety lead me to this path of mindfulness. I started with breathing techniques to "calm" the mind and body (i.e. rhythmic breathing, pranayama, ocean breath, tumo... you name it). I found it to be beneficial for me but not for others who suffer with anxiety. There were also some prerequisites to utilizing some advanced breathing techniques such as dietary choices, fasting and timing of the day. Again for me, I enjoyed the challenge and finding the balance but I decided to keep searching for other "methods" of self-care. I came across a this video during my undergraduate degree called Room to Breathe. A women taught this self-care practice in a low-social economic school in the bay area. Of course students were hesitant to this idea but when they got in the rhythm of her guidance they found a sense of peace.

From there I took my own prerequisites to become a certified mindfulness instructor. Unfortunately, after the pandemic the mindfulchools.org was no longer accepting applicants to finish their program. Though they still offer amazing courses for teachers. I didn't see that as big of a Delma as most might think because that piece of paper reflects a short amount of academic study. The real work is still being done in the privacy of my own heart and my own mind. Years of mindfulness practice has opened my eyes and provided a me with equanimity. Things do not bother me as much as they use to. Of course I can still get mad, sad, frustrated but I don't hold that emotion. I allow it to flow and just let go.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom.” -- Viktor Frankl

Mindfulness is honestly become a super power in that it develops more space between the stimulus and how one responds. Before I would be reactive and my emotions would strike after the stimulus. Now there is space and I have time to choose how I will respond. As for my mother, she has adopted some of the mindfulness breathing techniques and mindful walking and has found inner strength that she didn't feel for some time. Today I continue to get deeper into my mindfulness practice. It brings me to a place of stillness though there might be chaos around me. There is so many things that distract and pull us away from this... right now. If you have any questions about music or mindfulness reach out via email I would love to have a conversation with you.


Students

Before you read anything else just rememebr that you are enough...


Mindfulness is not a silver bullet, it will not help "manage" your class. Rather it is a practice that allows you and your students to be present and be more self-aware. That way they can learn to "mangae" themselves instead of rely on others. These are long term tools that we are developing. Of course there will be some hesitation. You can't just rip off the skin of a snake, it will shed in time. If the teacher practices what they are teaching then the students will start to follow the heard and practice together. If the teacher does not practice mindfulness and tries to teach it, don't expect great results. Students can smell inauthenticity from a mile away. It is important to be a positive role model and showing students through your actions that this can be a valuable tool. It is a lifetime of practice. I do believe that certifications are valuable but the real work is in the privacy of your own heart and mind. 



Levels of mindfulness: (Breathing meditation)


The goal is not the absence of thought, some days the mind is more flooded than others. Just notice watch the thoughts as they go by and say "thinking" they will come and go like clouds. 


Where can I find more information? 

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it meditation?
Meditation is an umbrella term because there are many types of meditation. One mindful meditation example is breathing and focusing on the your breath. When you mind starts to wonder just think the word "thinking" ... then back to the breath.

So... what is Mindfulness exactly???
It is not a religion, not a visualization, not a mantra and it is not about shutting the mind off. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? The more you try to ignore it the stronger it comes back. There is not a goal or something to be gained from mindfulness. It is not able being clam or calming down (though it can be a by-product). It is simply observing what is happening in the present moment with no judgement. Thoughts will come and go like clouds in the sky. We can not get rid of them because they are apart of this human experience. It is refreshing to find that we are not our thoughts and don't have to have our thoughts pull us in 10,000 directions. 



References:

Website: Mindfulschools.org

Zinn, J.K. (2005). Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. Hachette books inc.

Arau, M. (2022). Upbeat: Mindset, mindfulness and leadership in music education and beyond. GIA publication inc.