Class Relax

refocus, renew and get ready to learn

Class Relax x 6

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When I go into a class to conduct a Class Relax session, I always come out enriched. This past Tuesday, I  had a larger mission. I was given forty-five minutes in each of six 7th grade classes to introduce the principles of mindfulness. 

Why? Health Week in our school Nofei Habsor is a perfect opportunity to present Class Relax to the 7th grade.

Where? The mission was to allow the pupils to stay in their regular classrooms while various teachers arrived to present different aspects of health. We had a physiotherapist, an expert in medicinal herbs, a drum therapist, and so on. I covered Meditation.

How? I chose to bring my Tibetan Singing Bowl and offer focus techniques using sound, body, breathing and meta-cognition. Then I presented the classroom app still in beta.

Tibetan singing bowl:4c968d311356bebc3c2ba164da508310

I sat on the desk, holding the bowl in my left hand, the mallet in my right and waited for quiet. The task: Eyes on me, listen to the sound and when you cease to hear it, close your eyes. Ready? Go. (gong!)

With the new quiet in the room, I drew a very abstract human in cross-legged meditation, wrote the word above his head and asked them what they’d heard about meditation. I received all kinds of things, variations from different classes, but some included: yoga, relaxation, boring, lotus, Om, release, monks, Buddhism, stopping thoughts.

I mentioned that some of these things were connected with religion and in fact meditation had been introduced into the world from the Far East thousands of years ago. After many years, today meditation includes the totally secular.

Then I told them that that’s what I do. I practice Mindfulness and I wrote it on the board. What’s ‘mind’ I asked. I got responses such as: thought, emotion, pause, opinion, ‘never-mind’, and I added ‘awareness’ to the list and gave them examples.

I told them that Mindfulness is the practice of noticing the breath, the body, the emotions at that particular moment, leaving the past behind, not relating to what might be in the future, and along with that, not judging nor labeling what we noticed, but simply paying attention.

And we began. I told them that we’d learn a few techniques in mindfulness, and, I was pleased to hear that some pupils  asked for the exercises!

I introduced the Class Relax idea, about applying a specific exercise for a particular mood in the classroom. I showed them what other kids had said about it and screened some data showing how mindfulness has influenced classrooms all over the world – increasing academic achievement, reducing incidents of violence, offering a lifelong tool to focus and reduce stress.

Then we clicked into the ‘Meditation Clips‘ link of this blog and I chose an exercise.

We did a breathing exercise – first I showed them the technique of putting one hand on the stomach and counting breaths using the fingers – in and out = 1, in and out =2, etc.

We went through the Chinese Bamboo Flute exercise and afterwards, we talked about how they felt.

The Wonderful Waiter

The Wonderful Waiter hang drum/harp

Then we stood up to do the Wonderful Waiter. This tai chi exercise balances the brain and offers a workout to the body – it enables mind, body and breath to work on one goal.

We did the fast version which is done to hang drum music.

Afterwards, I took my place once more on the desk and with the Tibetan Singing Bowl, got them to listen to the sound, closing their eyes and opening them when they no longer heard it.

I reviewed what we’d learned: using sound, breathing and body to focus: techniques that can be used, and nobody else has to be the wiser, but still if a friend sees us pausing, perhaps they will as well. How wonderful to support one another!

We wished each other a wonderful day, and I packed up.

After the session, in all of the classes, pupils came and asked permission to try the Tibetan Singing Bowl. This was another chance to learn the differences between us: how one strikes the bowl to create a sound and then another strikes it and gets a completely different sound.

Note: On Thursday, our school had a Group Run around a neighbouring kibbutz. My task was to stand guard beside the Dairy Cattle moo-640x588and protect passing pupils from oncoming tractors or cars. While waiting, I chose to practice some Chi Cong in the wonderful sunlight. Several groups passed me, greeted me, some choosing to do the Wonderful Waiter as they ran past!

“I’ve been practising” said one girl.

Reflecting on that Tuesday six-time session, I realized that for the first time since I’d begun teaching this year, I’d experienced a morning of equal output and input, or perhaps greater input. I had felt good and fully ready to continue a non-stop schedule that ran till 7 pm. (and again starting at 8:15 pm). 

So, thank you, Class Relax, and thank you students for being receptive to the ideas of Mindfulness.

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