How can I use mindfulness with my primary school children?

Using Pilates as a way to build mindfulness

Let's take a look at mindfulness, another buzz word that's around at the moment. But sometimes people are really unsure of its meaning and what it actually entails.

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing and not overly react or be overwhelmed by the world around us.

Mindfulness stretching exercises release endorphins into the brain to improve mood. They are calming and relaxing.

We also use breathing exercises to take time for yourself and explore how you feel at the moment.

Watch the video for an insight into using Pilates for calming exercises, mindful stretches, and breathing exercises.

Remember to join in so you can feel the benefits of policies for yourself.

Remember to join in so you can feel the benefits of policies for yourself.

OK, everyone, sit forward with your bottom towards the front of your chair.

Place your feet firmly on the ground and sit up really tall, shoulders down, neck nice and long, like a giraffe, And I'd like you to take some big, deep breaths for me. Filling up full of air and then letting it all out again. Let's go again. Breathe in. Big deep breath in. Let's do two more. Really breathe in, deeply and out. One more time. Breathing out. Fantastic.

This time let your head relax down, looking towards the floor. Let your fingertips creep down the front of your legs and go as far as you can to the floor. And then walk back up and sitting tall again. Neck like a giraffe. Shoulders down. Let's go again. Have a look down at the floor.  Creeping those fingers down and walk back up. Creeping those fingers back up. Can we do two more?  Let's go. Looking down at the floor. Creeping those fingers down.  Back up Let's do one last one. Make it a really good one. Looking down at the floor. Walking down Coming back up. Sitting tall again.

Think. Have I grown now on my big shoulders. Down. Long neck. Like a giraffe. Bring up your hand. So that your fingertips are touching. Just under your chin. And then we're going to twist around to one side, keeping your bottom and your legs really still back to the middle.

And the other way I'm back to the middle. This time, when you twist, I want you to take a big deep breath in for me.

And right after you come back to the middle, let go the other way. Breathing and breathe out one more time. Each side. Breathing Breathe out. And last time. So hopefully you joined in and had a go at all the lovely, Calming Pilates stretches and now you feel relaxed, energised, and ready to do the next part of the workshop.

So now I'd like you to think about where a calming Pilates activity would fit into your teaching day.

So how about first thing after registration to set the tone for the day? As soon as the children have done their registration, off we go with the Pilates stretches.

You could use it in assembly with everybody doing it together after lunch? Yeah. Fantastic.

Or maybe as a cool down after a session or a long day or stressful day or even a long week.  If you've had a long week, calming Pilates is a great way to end the week.

Staff meetings are always good and always quite a stressful part of the day.

And then the run up to SATs as well. This is useful for the older students who are getting themselves in a little pickle over over SATs.

The list is endless. There's hundreds of opportunities throughout the day and throughout the week where you could start to slot these kind of activities in. And it's just a really nice way to get some mindfulness and stretching, and some breathing into their day.

It's just about moving that spine and nourishing that brain and flooding it full of oxygen and and hormones.

That will absolutely help to improve mood and to prepare to learn.

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