At Ross Lower School, mindfulness practices are part of a life skills program that help children in Early Childhood through grade 6 experience their day with a clear, focused perspective. Last week, Ross parent and certified yoga instructor Susan Verde, author of I Am Yoga, led an assembly to discuss the meaning of mindfulness and demonstrate poses that students can incorporate into their daily routine to help strengthen the body and spirit and calm the mind.
Lower School Counselor Sharon Burns opened the assembly in the Multi-Purpose Room, explaining that the focus on mindfulness would continue through March (the Lower School concentrates on different Ross Core Values throughout the year). Students in grades K–6 will read Susan’s book in class during this time.
Mindfulness can be one of the more difficult of the Ross Core Values for students to comprehend. Susan began by explaining that mindfulness relates to being aware of your body and mind and surroundings. As examples, she expressed that she was feeling a bit anxious because she was presenting to so many people. Acknowledging that awareness helped her to be able to calm herself. As for her body, she noticed that she was a bit sore from a workout. Susan then went around the room, prompting students to share how they were feeling. Some were tired or hungry; others said they were happy and relaxed. It was a great way to get the students focused on what was to come.
Susan then invited the fifth graders to the stage to help demonstrate sun salutations, a series of yoga moves that stretch and strengthen the major muscle groups. The students in the audience were happy to follow along.
Next, to settle the group before reading from her book, Susan tapped a cymbal, and asked the students to silently raise their hands when they could no longer hear the sound. The effect was impressive, encouraging all to become attentive and ready to listen.
I Am Yoga, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, is a book about creativity and the power of self-expression. It encourages children to explore the world of yoga and includes a guide to 16 yoga poses. As Susan read, the students attempted the poses that were shown on the screen above the stage.
At the close of the assembly, student government representatives picked up copies of I Am Yoga for their classrooms. As they filed out, their eagerness to begin reading and once again practice the poses was easy to see. Overall, they left with a better understanding of mindfulness and great ideas for incorporating further exploration into their daily routines at Ross.