Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement
A Guide for Educators
- Christine Mason - Founder and Executive Director, Center for Educational Improvement
- Jeffrey Donald - Mindfulness Coordinator
- Krishna Kaur Khalsa - Y.O.G.A. for Youth
- Michele M. Rivers Murphy - Associate Director, Center for Educational Improvement
- Valerie Brown - Lead Smart Coaching, LLC - Principal
Foreword by Ruschelle S. Reuben, A Joint Publication With Kundalini Research Institute
Learning & the Brain | School Culture | Student Engagement & Motivation
In chaotic times, a deep breath can bring calm to your classroom.
As the pandemic recedes and the world gradually returns to “normal,” it’s more important than ever to make your classroom a place that supports mental health and improves overall wellness. In this book, you’ll discover the why and the how of using techniques to reduce stress, improve executive function, and set the stage for increased memory and attention, better self-regulation, and improved cognition and academic learning.
With this practical, research-based guide, you’ll incorporate age- and grade-appropriate meditation, breathing, mindfulness, and secular yoga activities into your teaching, in ways that work for in-person as well as virtual and hybrid settings. Features include
- Adaptations for special populations, including those who have experienced trauma
- Recommendations for family involvement in social emotional learning
- Guidance on self-care for teachers and school staff
- Data from successfully implemented programs
- Dozens of illustrations, QR codes, and reflective questions
Mindfulness isn’t just a buzzword-it’s a time-tested, teacher-tested technique for reducing anxiety and improving you students’ outcomes. Incorporate it into your classroom and see for yourself how much good a deep breath can do.
"Where does one start in recognizing what a valuable gift the authors of this book have provided teachers and their students? Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement is truly an amazing experiential resource that begins with an overview of the wealth of neuroscientific research supporting the efficacy of yoga, mindfulness, and mediation in alleviating stress, enhancing executive functioning, dealing with emotions, and advancing happiness and well-being for children and adults. The authors, in a marvelously understandable and illustrative fashion, provide educators with numerous age-appropriate classroom practices to choose from, all with step-by-step instructions including trauma-informed yoga instruction to help students who have experienced trauma, especially considering the impact of COVID-19. The emphasis on how to address the barriers to practice and increase motivation, engagement, interest, and fun is incredibly helpful. In addition, the reader will discover numerous online resources, apps, and outside readings to facilitate classroom instruction. The authors also stress the importance of integrating these practices into teachers' own lives to help deal with the high levels of stress and burnout that is endemic in their profession and to enhance the joy of teaching these practices to their students, knowing that it can change their lives forever. While I was reading this book, I often felt the mindfulness of the moment. What a wonderful, heartfelt contribution to the field of education!"
"Educators will find much inspiration and support in this book, which offers insightful and practical ways to support students' emotional health. It is our bodies that hold trauma, and it is through our bodies that we can find release and emotional rest. This compassionate work provides educators with easy-to-implement strategies and activities that use the breath and body to create change from the inside out. The goal of this comprehensive resource is to not only lower anxiety and challenging behaviors, but also to create learning communities that further joy, wonder, and happiness."
"This is a superb resource! Supported by research, the authors offer a treasure chest of well-structured mindfulness-based activities, practices, materials, and frameworks for educators, yoga teachers, and students. The authors seek not only incremental improvement in student mental and physical well-being, but they have also offered a practical roadmap for high-performance functioning, integrating mind, body, and heart. Reflecting the authors’ social justice and equity perspectives, the text and the photos are racially and culturally inclusive.”
"Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement represents an immense contribution to the field. Beginning with research findings, the authors anticipate and address virtually every what, why, how, who, when, and where question that educators, parents, and the public may have about the book’s subject. Their goal is nothing less than to provide blueprints for an education that truly serves the needs of students and teachers in today’s troubled times. They have succeeded!"
"I am so excited to hear that Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement will be available to practitioners across K-12 settings. Chris Mason and her colleagues share practical, sensible, and 'you can do today' strategies in a beautiful way that adds a spirit of calm at a much needed time in schools. Educators looking for a compassionate approach to supporting their students in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way need to look no further: You found your resource."
"At a time when the pandemic, global warming, racial reckoning, ideological division, and technological innovation have coalesced to present schools and students with disorienting change, the authors of Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement have provided a tremendous resource of hope. Grounding their work in scientific evidence, they demonstrate the benefits that mindfulness traditions have on the health and well-being of adults and students alike. This path-breaking book provides an accessible overview of ancient yet vibrant practices that provide remarkable possibilities; it offers tangible implementation plans that empower students and teachers to listen with their heads and their hearts, to face adversity with courage and compassion, to build confidence and resilience, to care for themselves, and, above all, better understand and heal one another. Every teacher, administrator, and parent who wants to improve learning outcomes, raise moral children, and create a more peaceful and just society should read this book and embrace its promise. "
"Learning, understanding, and using the five Cs described in this book for social emotional learning in my practice as a school principal has been a game changer! Working with staff and having compassionate conversations has changed how we do business in school. Staff and students are definitely benefitting from being engaged in mindful movement and yoga."
"Playing and learning are synonyms. Both—in their purest form—are about freely and joyfully engaging, connecting, and exploring the surrounding world. For children—and adults for that matter—to effectively play and learn, they must have a deeply embodied sense of calm, confidence, connection, and curiosity. Movement, meditation, and mindfulness are essential tools for developing these senses and enabling people to become lifelong learners and players. This book is a gift: a gift that has been given to our school communities at a time in our history when we need it most. Within its pages lies a practical roadmap for creating safer and more joyful, loving, and inspiring schools."
"This generously comprehensive manual will open new doors for any educator hoping to share best practices in introducing yoga and mindfulness to their students and schools. Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement fills an important gap in well-being in education work, reminding us of the crucial importance of paying attention to the body, mind, and heart when working with young people. Well-being is increasingly taking center stage in educational redesign initiatives, and the authors rightly emphasize the importance of teachers establishing their own awareness before setting out on this rich and rewarding journey with their students. With this valuable book by their side, teachers will be equipped with a wide range of practical self-care tools and approaches to bring greater well-being to themselves and their community."
"The pandemic has brought us to the decisive realization that if we are going to make good on the essential purpose of education—to draw out the innate potential of our children—we must address the impact of the emotional, physiological, and social well-being on their learning and identify practices that foster the ability to thrive in all of these dimensions. Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement is the guide to this endeavor, providing critical understandings, vital practices, and inspirational evidence to equip our students with the strategies and confidence for the personal strength and self-determination required for academic, social, and emotional fortitude so needed now—and throughout their lives!"