“Sit upright and solid with the strength and determination of a mountain. Breathing in, see yourself as a mountain. Breathing out, feel calm & solid. Repeat 5 times.”
At ISAK, we practice developing an awareness of ourselves and others, along with the potential problems that need to be solved in and outside of our community.. This awareness helps us understand a variety of perspectives and to solve problems collaboratively; it is the foundation for leadership practice at ISAK.
Being aware takes practice and is not always easy. One way ISAK students are working on developing this skill is through “breathing space” exercises. When students arrive at their first class and last class of the day, many teachers are leading a 3 to 5 minute breathing exercise to help settle minds and bring attention to the present moment. The benefits of this work include:
- Allowing a busy mind to settle.
- Creating space for everyone to focus on what is most important/intention/purpose.
- Bringing attention to the present (emotions, sensations, thoughts).
- Cultivating positivity, kindness and gratitude.
The practice of awareness will help our students face challenging situations at school and throughout their lives. This work is not just for students – our faculty meetings begin with the same exercises!
Here are three examples of “breathing space” exercises you can try:
Belly Breath (Breathing Exercise)
Rest your hands on your belly. Watch, listen and feel your breath move in and out, up and down. Breath in through the nose for 3 counts (as if smelling a mug of hot chocolate). Breathe out through your mouth (like you are blowing out a candle) for 6 counts. Repeat.
Where is my mind? (Attention Training)
Take one minute and count on your hands how many times your mind goes to past, to the future, or somewhere else. Then return to the present for a rest.
Kind Wishes (Positivity Exercise)
Make a kind wish for:
- Someone you care about
- Someone you don’t really know
- Someone who bothers you