Multi-Tracking & Learning

Multi-tracking is an exercise where you are moving as many parts of your mind and body at once to exercise all of the connections in the brain.  Try this:

Start by standing with your weight evenly balanced over both feet.

Now take a deep breath and relax.

Begin by rubbing your belly with your right hand, feel both your hand and your belly.

Now tap your head with your left hand, very gently up and down.

Start to tap your right foot.

Imagine that in the left side of your brain you are licking a chocolate ice cream cone.

Imagine that on the right side of your brain a monkey is riding a bicycle.

Now sing “We all live in a yellow submarine….” for one minute.

The idea is that we are not just visual or auditory learners, we are kinesthetic learners too!

People need freedom to move around, with purpose, to learn.

This exercise is inspired by the book, Spinning Inward, by Maureen Murdock.

Mantra Monday

This is a photo my daughter took while we were zip lining in the rain forest of Costa Rica.

This activity is not anything I wanted to do, nor would I let her do it alone.  So while my heart wanted to explode and my knees where shaking, my strength and my mantra was, “JUST BREATHE!”.

I knew we were safe, I knew this was temporary, and I knew I could use my breath to keep me as calm as I could be in that moment.  AND….I was even able to enjoy the last two sections!

When I look at this photo, I can recall the thrill of the adventure and the immense beauty that surrounded us.  I will never be the same as I was before I took that leap….

The Value of Visualization


Guided Imagery is a powerful tool to unlock creativity, mindfulness and body awareness.  Our physical body responds to imagery.  Consider this:  when you imagine a movement, the brain transmits the knowledge to the muscles in our body.

Try this exercise:

*Sitting quietly with your eyes closed, visualize yourself doing Sun Salutation A.

*Now get up and do Sun Salutation A.

*Did you notice a difference in doing the vinyasa after the visualization?

*What was different about it?

*What are other ways you can use this tool to add value in your daily life?




Mantra Monday

It’s All In Your Mind….

Here is a great article by Lynne Ticknor that was published in Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine in 2011, and is still relevant today:

Nine-year-old Nick Morro, of San Mateo, CA, was struggling to beat a difficult level of his favorite video game, and he was getting frustrated. Very frustrated. Instead of giving up — or screaming at the top of his lungs (which he knew would lead to his mom taking away his Xbox) — he set the controller aside, plopped down on the floor, and began taking slow, deep breaths. After a few minutes, he stood up and resumed his game with a relaxed smile and a calmer mind. Nick lost a few more rounds, but he never lost his cool, and eventually he conquered the challenging level.

Focus on Success
Nick’s breathing break was a little trick he learned in school. More and more, schools are teaching such techniques to help students focus on their work, better handle frustration, stave off stress, and even smooth out rocky social relationships.

Generally referred to as “mindfulness,” this emerging school movement is an approach based in the philosophy of Buddhism. But it’s not a religion, and as part of a school curriculum, there are no spiritual overtones. Instead, lessons and exercises help kids work on key life skills like paying attention to detail, active listening, thinking before they act or speak, identifying and controlling intense emotions such as fear and anger, and understanding the perspectives of others.

Think about it. Kids are constantly told by teachers, parents, coaches, and other adults to pay attention, but they’re rarely taught how to do so. In a mindful classroom, students learn how to focus on being in the moment rather than agonizing over the past (having not done so well on that math test, being teased about a new haircut) or worrying about the future (the upcoming spelling bee, striking out at the game on Saturday). Once kids are able to clear their minds of such distractions, they can better focus on the task at hand and thus have more success at completing it. It’s a lesson that many adults can benefit from, as well. “Honestly, I’m working as hard at being mindful as my children are,” says one second-grade teacher.

Breathe Deep, Develop Your Brain
Scientists have discovered that mindful practices can have very real physical, psychological, and emotional benefits—from actually growing the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotions, to boosting the immune system.

So what are these mindful practices? A key one is to teach children to focus on their breathing, an age-old exercise in finding calm and balance—or their “center.” “The breath is the core,” says Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., author of The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children. “It’s an elegant tool. We can use it to take us immediately into the present moment.”

Taking deep breaths at a stressful moment helps children to step back and think over the best action to take, rather then lashing out from pure emotion. Such considered response is the epitome of mindfulness—and it’s also empowering for kids, who discover that they have more ability to control their reactions (to everything from a difficult homework assignment to a bully) than they may have thought.

In addition to deep breathing, other classroom exercises that support mindfulness include:
• miming (acting out feelings without using words);

• visualization (imagining yourself in a peaceful, calm location, such as on a beach listening to the waves);

• keeping a journal;

• free play dramatization (acting out situations); and

• movement (dancing or just moving to music).

When teaching mindfulness, some educators may play a meditation CD or launch an iPad/iPhone app called BellyBio that helps to regulate breathing rhythms.

For exercises and tips on bringing mindfulness to your children’s lives at home, click here.


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