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Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement
A Guide for Educators

Foreword by Ruschelle S. Reuben, A Joint Publication With Kundalini Research Institute



December 2021 | 312 pages | Corwin

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.


 
Foreword by Ruschelle Reuben
 
Preface
Resiliency and Healing in the Moment: Mindfulness

 
How to Use Cultivating Happiness, Resiliency, and Well-Being

 
Glossary

 
Cultivating Happiness, Resiliency, and Well-Being – The Book

 
Key principles

 
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
List of Online Resources
 
Part I: Introduction
 
Chapter 1: Research Support for Mindful Breath Work, Meditation, and Yoga Movements
Reaching for Stars

 
Research Base Supporting Mindfulness, Yoga, and Meditation with Children

 
Alleviating Stress

 
Anatomy and Body Alignment

 
Start with Breath

 
Impact of Yoga-Mindfulness-Meditation on the Endocrine System

 
Yoga Postures and Alignment

 
Heart Centered Meditation

 
Principles for Success

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 2: A Few Basics
Strengthening Our Own Metacognition Through Mindfulness Practice

 
Heart Centered Connections

 
Mindfulness Games

 
Restorative Practices – Building Resiliency, Building Community

 
Who Can Teach Yoga-Mindfulness-Meditation in Schools?

 
Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 3: Teacher Stress and Teacher Practice
Teacher Stress and Burnout Were Alarmingly High Before COVID

 
Your Own Daily Practice

 
Where Are You?

 
Observing Your Progress

 
Creating a Yoga-Meditation-Mindfulness Practice

 
Using Your Practice to Plan for Teaching Students

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 4: Organizing Space, Materials, and Instruction
I. Preparing to Teach: Yoga Space and Materials

 
Places to Access Yoga Supplies and Materials for Schools

 
Resources to Guide Yoga Instruction

 
II. Components of Yoga-Mindfulness-Meditation Instruction

 
Yoga-Mindfulness-Meditation Instruction

 
Your Presence and Your Voice

 
When You Teach

 
Teaching Meditation

 
Students as Co-Leaders

 
III. Integrating Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness with Academic Instruction

 
A Mindfulness Intervention Room

 
Developmental Stages and Appropriateness

 
Adaptations for Younger Students

 
Yoga Before or After School

 
Progress and Impact

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Part II: Heart Centered Learning – the Five Cs
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 5: Overview of the 5 Cs
Practices for Life

 
The 5 Cs Chapters

 
Curricular Context

 
Student Motivation and Accommodations

 
A Few More Yoga-Mindfulness-Meditation Basics

 
As You Teach - Timing and Pacing

 
Infusing Practices throughout Classrooms and Schools

 
Are You Ready?

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 6: Consciousness
Teacher Notes

 
Consciousness and Self-Awareness

 
Curricular Context

 
Consciousness Warm-Up

 
Breath Work

 
Yoga Set: Posture and Movement

 
Meditations

 
Consciousness Curriculum Integration Planner

 
Consciousness Opens Us to Compassion

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 7: Compassion
Teacher Notes

 
Curricular Context

 
Compassion Warm-Ups

 
Breath Work

 
Yoga Set: Posture and Movement

 
Meditations

 
Compassion Curriculum Integration Planner

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 8: Confidence
Teacher Notes

 
Confidence Fosters Mental Health, Well-Being, and Happiness

 
Curricular Context

 
Confidence Warm-Ups

 
Breath Work

 
Yoga Set: Posture and Movement

 
Meditations

 
Confidence Curriculum Integration Planner

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 9: Courage
Teacher Notes

 
Finding Our Voice, Living in the Present, and Co-Creating

 
Curricular Context

 
Confidence Warm-Ups

 
Breath Work

 
Yoga Set: Posture and Movement

 
Meditations

 
Courage Curriculum Integration Planner

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 10: Community
Teacher Notes

 
Warm, Supportive Environments for Learning

 
Expanding our Community Consciousness, Creating Transformative Change

 
Curricular Context

 
Community Includes Families

 
Community Warm-Ups

 
Breath Work

 
Yoga Set: Posture and Movement

 
Meditations

 
Community Curriculum Integration Planner

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Part III: Leadership
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 11: Mindful Educational Leadership: Practices to Transform You and Your Leadership
The Inner Life of Leaders Linked to Outer Life of Leadership

 
Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

 
Mindfulness Practices for Educational Leaders

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Chapter 12: Being a Mindfulness Coordinator
Mindful Leadership

 
Montgomery County Public Schools Mindfulness Program

 
Accomplishments

 
The Coalition for the Future of Education

 
Mindful Reflection

 
 
Sources for Yoga Breathe Work, Kriyas and Meditations
 
References

"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."

Hannah Beach
Co-author, Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever—And What We Can Do About It

"I am so excited to hear that Cultivating Happiness 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."

Dr. Susie DaSilva
Superintendent of Schools, Ridgefield, CT

"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." 

Stacy Bachelder Giles
Principal, Bridgewater-Hebron Village School, Bristol, NH

"As a parent, I know how strongly we hope our children will thrive and flourish. With the enormous challenges facing our world today, I am worried, as many are, about the world we will be leaving them. How can we best equip our children to navigate their challenges today and the world’s challenges tomorrow? For centuries, meditation and yoga have provided a gateway to calmness and insights that can guide our actions and interactions as we strengthen our health and well-being. To protect and support them, and for our collective future, these teachings must reach our children. Dr. Mason and her team of dedicated yoga-meditation teachers have written a manual to help schools implement practices that can make a profound difference for each and every child and for our planet. Filled with hundreds of photos and time-tested yoga sets, breathing exercises, and meditations, Cultivating Happiness provides a pathway to a better, brighter future as it addresses students' and teachers’ immediate needs. This book will be useful for yoga instructors as well as public and private school teachers, school counselors, and administrators. I encourage you to read, practice, and reflect, watching in wonder at the significant improvements in your own happiness, resilience, and well-being as well as in all the children in your life!"

Amrit Singh Khalsa
CEO at Kundalini Research Institute

"I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Mason and have benefitted from her expertise in engaging educators in much needed reforms. We need more of the authors' vision and the holistic, human-centered approach described in this book in our work. As we move to prevent and alleviate the impact of trauma, we must build skills like mindfulness to best prepare current and future generations in our ever-changing world." 

Jesse Kohler
Executive Director at Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice

"This is an excellent, informative, and well-researched book. It is a must-read for all future and current teachers, school counselors, and administrators and is without question one of the best books written on the topic. Cultivating Happiness is a valuable guide to improve teacher training, schools, and personal happiness and will be added to my classes’ reading lists."

Dr. Sandra McElroy
Professor of Early Childhood Learning, Pine Manor Campus, Boston College

“Too often we forget that our personal and professional well-being and health are directly related to our individual efforts to remain mindful, reflective, and balanced. Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement is an outstanding resource for all who wish to continuously learn, grow, and improve. The advantage here is that this work provides the reader with practical and replicable steps and skills to increase one's overall well-being. This is a must read for anyone interested in elevating and enriching both personal and shared experiences.”

Joseph L. Ricca, Ed.D, Superintendent of Schools
White Plains Public Schools

"The practice of using meditation, mindfulness, and movement should be in every educator’s toolkit of strategies under the labels of self-preservation and decision-making. Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-being Through Meditation, Mindfulness and Movement is the workbook they need to learn these stress-reducing techniques. The book is situated on a stable foundation of theory and what theory looks like in practice. The authors provide validating research and align it with evidence-based activities educators can easily incorporate during their working hours, and they demonstrate how these techniques decrease the risks of empathic distress and burnout while increasing an educator’s capacity to become more compassionate and impartial when making judgments about their students."

Victoria E. Romero

"Where does one start in recognizing what a valuable gift the authors of this book have provided teachers and their students? Cultivating Happiness 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 those 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!"

Glenn Albright, PhD
Baruch College, City University of New York

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ISBN: 9781071852811
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