For years I have practiced yoga to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual health. Starting most days with my practice primes my body and mind to become more open to what the day may bring. I have incorporated breathing techniques and simple yoga postures into my teaching--especially on those days when my students were hanging on by a thread. By why wait until students are in desperate need to incorporate all that yoga has to offer? Here is a great way to mindfully start the morning off right and incorporate writing at the same time!
Before I begin on how to incorporate yoga into the writing process, let me just say this: The most important part of the day is the morning! Our thoughts, actions, interactions, and reactions will set the tone for the day. Make sure your students see you at the door welcoming each and every student as they enter the classroom or resource room. Saying their names and smiling is a small, but powerful way to let students know they are important. This practice, if done mindfully and consistently, will pay off in the long run. Believe me, if you skip a day of this, notice how the atmosphere in the room changes! Now, onto writing...
Students are to clear their desks. Hands are to be placed palms up on their laps. Have them close their eyes. Guide them through this 1-2 minute breathing cycle by saying these words:
Notice your breath flowing in and out of your nose...(pause about 10 seconds) Notice how fast or slow you are breathing... Do not change your breath in anyway, just notice...if your mind wanders, just bring your attention back to your breath...now feel the breath move through your nose to the back of your throat...notice if your breathing has changed...is it faster? slower?...notice your belly move as you breathe...now just relax for a bit more...open your eyes and get out your journal and a writing utensil...write down your thoughts...how did this feel? Write whatever comes to mind...
(Follow this link to learn more about free writing.)
Do this everyday. You can change your journal prompts as you see fit, however, the process of breathing stays the same. If at any time during your day you find that students are becoming distracted or antsy, you can remind them to do their breathing. Once this becomes part of your routine, you may not even have to guide them as much as before.
Try this out first and see how it feels. And you, being the wonderful teacher you are, will model writing with the students. Now get started write away!