I found this exercise rather hard to do, I am currently in my office and I found it hard to focus. I will try this again at home to see if I can stay focused on the breath and my heart rate slows down overall I enjoyed the break.
We actually practice this in our youth groups quite often. I find that I often catch myself wandering into some other thoughts such as to-do lists. I find it relaxing but also challenging to stay focused on my breathing.
I appreciated learning this technique. I typically practice with my eyes closed so it was interesting to practice with my eyes open and know that I can do this anywhere…especially when I am in stressful situations like traffic. I also appreciated that everything was an invitation for example I chose not to have my hand on my belly or chest. I just ordered some small beanie babies so I may try this practice with youth having them lying down using the breathing buddy to watch their deep breathing.
I practice meditation every day though I have not done it with my eyes open before. It is definitely different when doing it with your eyes open. Meditating with our eyes closed, we are able to just try to focus on the breathing. Meditating with my eyes open, though it was to assess the environment we are in which is helpful to those who have experienced trauma, I found it to be distracting (thought that may be because there are so many things in the room I am in). During the meditation, I eventually stopped looking around the room and let my focus drift off. My attention ended up more on my breathing.
I will definitely teach this technique to youth when I work with them in the future.
(p.s. Sam was your bell actually a singing bowl?)
I have always enjoyed this type of meditation. I hope to be able to facilitate it myself in a trauma support group I facilitate.
I really liked the eyes open portion of the meditation. The reason why I think this is important is because with people that I work with I think that closing the eyes can be a “threat” and cause them to go into the hind brain. I actually never thought about the eyes closed before and the negative impact it can have. So this was helpful. I enjoyed trying this for myself.
Its a great technique I like the added attention to the sound at the end. I do mindfulness meditation with my eyes open at times so I found it very comfortable. I initially found it hard to breath in slow but was doing so by the end.
I found this exercise calming but as i regularly meditate, i found it hard to to keep my eyes open as i would loose the concentration on my breathing. I did find i automatically closed my eyes while participating in the deep breaths. With more practice i may find it possible to keep my eyes open while completing the breathing routine.
I often practice this with pupils, however usually have our eyes closed. I will try with eyes open when it feels appropriate.
I was comfortable with this exercise, keeping the eyes open with a soft gaze has been part of my mindfulness meditation practice. I felt calm and relaxed during and after the exercise. Yes, this is something that I can practice consistently. I can imagine cultivating the capacity to teach this to others. Thank you.
I also regularly practice deep breathing/meditation with my students as well as taught it to other staff members over the summer. I echo other comments in that I typically practice it with my eyes closed. I appreciate and understand the adaptation of keeping eyes open. I will want to practice this exercise again when I’m in a quieter place with less interruptions. I will definitely use this technique in the future.
Thanks for a another tool to use. I look forward to using this in my groups.
I found it relaxing and interesting to do it with my eyes open. Good practice of awareness of our surrounding. I can definitely use it with the youth I work with.
I enjoyed this exercise, I have a difficult time relaxing, so I really have to concentrate and let go of daily duties.
I agree with many of classmates that regularly meditate. The open eye technique and the encouragement not to focus on a particular object was nice. It was also a nice 6-minute break during the work day.
I loved this particular approach because it offers me a way to bridge the ” eyes closed” state with the ” eyes open” state which I find challenging. I tend toward vigilance when my eyes are open.
The mindfulness practice I have learned though Mindful Schools seems to emphasize the focus on breath as a discipline , building awareness of when attention goes elsewhere. It felt profound to be assured that it was OK to let the mind do what it tends to do and still bring focus to the breath. I found it very tender to gaze at my daughter’s artwork. It opened up my circuits in a new way. Fantastic as a new tool in my own practice and eventually something to share with those i teach. Thank you.
It was hard to focus on the breath as my mind kept wandering. But I tried to keep bringing it back to my breath or my surroundings. I did feel a little more at ease after though. I have used different mindfulness exercises with the youth I work with. Some are able to sit through and find it peaceful/relaxing but others have trouble focusing. I had one teen end with laughter but another felt like they had a weight lifted off their shoulders. I think it can be beneficial to use with youth but it definitely isn’t for everyone.
The scanning activity felt very calming and mindful to me- I enjoyed it. Breathing deeply was hard for me at first, but became easier as the activity progressed. Listening for the sound to disappear gave me a sense of purpose that felt soothing. I will absolutely use this practice for myself and my kids.
I appreciated this exercise and the instructions for it – very soothing. The practice of mindful breathing is very grounding for me and most of my students have told me that they find it relaxing – even if they seem to me to be distracted and un-engaged during it. I have one young person (abuse trauma) who tells me that this practice ( Hindbrain breathing in this tutorial) is triggering for him. He becomes extremely anxious rather than calmer – probably because the space for pausing allows room for intrusive thoughts to enter his awareness. I am interested in learning more from others about how they may address something similar.
This exercise was a great remedy for a very long day. I felt deep relaxation at the closing bell. During the day whenever necessary, I take a few moments to do cleansing breaths. Now I’ll be incorporating this Hind Breathing Technique into the opening of our mindfulness groups.
In the beginning my with my eyes open it was a bit distracting. I was still in the office. I thought about youth and trauma…and how would they feel safe trying this for the first time. It was “eyes open” and so I did the same. After a minute or so…shifting my focus to my breathing, I was then truly able to relax. Thank you!
This was a very nice exercise and a welcomed change from other types of breathing/meditative exercises-I liked having my eyes open and not stressing if my thoughts wandered! I will definitely introduce this technique to one of my students who has been resistant to any type of exercise like this! Thanks!
I will echo many of the other students about the benefits of the eyes open approach. I have often shied away from integrating meditation/mindfulness techniques into my work with some of my clients who have suffered significant trauma, as I worried (and have received feedback) that it would be triggering for them. It was good to practice the eyes open technique myself as it allowed me to see how it can immediately slow and calm my fast-paced thoughts and movement, allowing for a more grounded, quiet state. I will try to use this method in small ways: while waiting to meet my clients in jail, when feeling frustrated at my desk. While my thoughts did wander, I found these six minutes to be calming and helpful.
I found this exercise somewhat difficult. I kept getting distracted by things like whether to breathe through my nose or from my diaphragm at the beginning. As it continued I began to relax more into it and could sense that my heartrate was slowing down. During the exercise I was questioning whether I was going to experience any change as I was having difficulty consistently focusing on my breathing but following the exercise I definitely felt calmer and more relaxed. I found this exercise to be very beneficial as I don’t have a lot of experience with these exercises and I have been wanting someone to talk me through one. I would like to get to a place where I am comfortable enough with it that I can share it with my clients. I definitely think my clients would benefit from learning this as would our staff who work with the clients.
I have felt relaxation. I could focus totally in the exercise. My attention was in the present moment and I felt how my own breathing was going relaxing my mind and my body. After the exercise I felt more calm compared to before to begin the breathing practice. I feel I can teach this exercise or some similars to the people I work with. I think everyone could benefit by an exercise like this.
I did this exercise late at night and was at home and comfortable so I believe it was easier to be present and more relaxed. I did struggle with keeping my eyes open, not sure if it was because I was tired or because I traditionally do mindfulness exercises with my eyes shut. I really liked the bell portion at the end that incorporates listening. It was very clear and I was shocked how long I could hear the tune. I will definitely use this with my students, myself and my family!
I felt calm throughout this process. I don’t usually meditate with my eyes open. This was a new experience. I was somewhat distracted by the objects and my mind went wandering off more than it would typically with my eyes shut. nevertheless, the experience had a calming effect on me so very much a worthwhile breathing exercise.
I enjoyed this exercise, especially having my eyes open. I was able to really focus on my breathing while looking around the room, instead of having to continue to refocus my thoughts, which happens when I meditate with my eyes closed. I think it will be a useful tool in working with youth who’ve experienced trauma because with their eyes open they can feel safe and oriented while they meditate.
Forgot how powerful this exercise is as I have been involved with Yoga and meditation. Have to tell you I got more aware of my senses and my body totally relaxed and my mind was focussed. I was back in my previous experiences of this exercise in yoga and meditation. Loved it.
Thank you for reminding me of this powerful technique.
It was difficult to keep my mind from wandering off and thinking about what I had to do today. I was still able to calm myself and relax. I use this with many of my clients and some find it helpful others do not care for it.
I liked this method, I found it a bit easier to let my eyes wonder and think about anything that comes up. Ive often heard people say “don’t think about anything” when practicing meditation, subconsciously I always feel like I’m leaning towards being defiant with this direction, and I in turn think very specifically about anything and everything. The “freedom” of the hind brain breathing exercise is lovely, no internal struggle this time.
I am very new at meditation. I like this technique and will go back to it again for more practice. The few previous time I’ve tried meditating with my eyes closed I became concerned if I was breathing correctly. It took me longer to become relaxed. This time I let my eyes rest where I was comfortable I didn’t worry about my breathing. It seemed natural with this audio. I was relaxed and it didn’t seem like my mind wondered. Thanks for a new technique
Excellent exercise and simple to instruct.
‘Dangerous’ exercise to attempt while completing this unit curled up in bed at 10:45pm after an exhausting day of caring for my three children! In the beginning, I found it hard to relax, but that has more to do with my current life circumstances rather than the exercise itself. However, by the time I reached the “listening to the bells”, my brain was thankful for the break and ready to say good night! Very simple, yet very effective technique.
What a peaceful experience! I chose to complete this exercise sitting outside, just as dawn is breaking. In the beginning it was difficult to not be distracted, yet after a few minutes, an appreciation for my surroundings came over me and I was able to focus on the meditation. As others in this cohort have stated, “very simple, yet very rewarding!”
About 6 years ago, I took a mindfulness-based stress reduction class held at Kaiser and found it to be pretty life-changing – the idea that if you calm the body, then you have a chance to choose your response rather than simply reacting. However, I didn’t start practicing regularly until last August when I had a particularly challenging class that met at 9am. Meditating every day before school helped me to stay centered and not get so distracted or swept up in the emotions of the moment. One day, after an outburst involving four students, I asked the whole class to join me in some deep breathing. Afterwards, we had the most focused 15 minutes of class we’d had all semester! Since then, I’ve wanted to get some training to learn how to effectively introduce mindfulness techniques as part of a regular classroom routine that can potentially help all my students to access their forebrains while reading (which many of them seem to detach from; it’s very common for students to say that they’ll read something over and over and just not remember it).
I thought the Hindbrain Breathing technique presented in this module was great. I see how it can counteract a fight/flight/freeze state, giving the logical brain a chance to re-engage, but meanwhile giving permission to be gentle with oneself while the triggered symptoms play themselves out (hypervigilence, a racing mind). I like that it seems simple to teach/lead.
I liked the component of bringing awareness of my surroundings, scanning for safety. Like others, I had a hard time focusing on just my breathe and my brain tended to wonder a bit. When I was fully present I was aware that my body felt heavy but relaxed as well as my jaw was also very relaxed. I really enjoyed the ending of listening to the meditation bell until you couldn’t hear it ring anymore. It was a gentle way of coming back into a different sense and again appreciated ending with a scan of my environment. This is a valuable tool, thank-you!
I was able to part of the assignment. I have never been able to meditate in the normal sense of the word. I respond better to music. I will however practice it with the youth. I believe introducing them to as many ways to self regulate as I can is helpful.
I loved the option of having eyes open and scanning as well as the permission to not worry about my mind wandering.
I appreciated this meditation — inviting and nonjudgmental. Because I’m used to meditating with my eyes closed (and I was tired :)), I found my eyes kept closing; it was interesting to recognize how much my system now connects sitting down to meditate with eyes closing. Definitely want to incorporate teaching about the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems into my work with educators and young people and I would like to include a version of this hindbrain breathing exercise.
Nice…always appreciate being able to take a mindful moment during the work day. As mentioned, eyes open good for working with youth as even when some instructions often ask youth to close eyes, just gazing or scanning good to offer as an option. I do incorporate into education and activity programs with youth and trying to practice more regularly myself…a good thing for sure.
I thoroughly enjoyed letting my mind let go and to concentrate on anything but my normal structured ways. This defiantly is worth introducing into the environment of the clients I support. Thankyou Sam, I feel very calm.
I really appreciate this exercise and the instructions. I found the not- closing eyes really helpful, scanning the environment. It was a soothing experience even though my eyes were focusing on external objetcs.
Just as many of my classmates have said, there is a lot of value in keeping eyes open if one suffers from trauma. I also think that feeling comfortable in a new experience will encourage more practice. The kids that I am around all day do not come from an environment where meditation and mindfulness are a part of their daily routines, so I think that having them keep their eyes open would make it seem less ‘weird’. Also if a youth is triggered allowing for the scanning of their environment will also de-esculate them. I enjoy practicing deep breathing and definitely have done it in stressful situations. I want to try and have it become a daily thing for me because I know it will be more effective when I really need it to calm down.
This was a pleasant experience for me. When the meditation session culminated I felt calm. I currently have my meditation practice and I usually meditate twice a day for 10 minutes. At the present moment I teach mindfulness to my patients as a tool within their therapeutic process.
I really enjoyed thus exercise! I have practiced meditation for two years now. I felt more at peace, just a sense that everything is ok. I would absolutely love the opportunity to teach this to youth. I am very interested in bringing a proposal to our local JDC that involves implementing this and other mindfulness practices! Is this something you could provide guidance on? These are such valuable, real skills that youth can grab on to to help themselves !!!!!
Like the others, I enjoyed this exercise, and will look forward to using this exercise in practice. The eyes open component was new to me, and I found myself focussing on deep bodily sensations during the deep breathing. It created a sense of fullness.
I very much enjoyed the practice of keeping my eyes open and the invitation to scan the room and not worry about mind wandering. I felt at ease and calm during and after. This open soft gaze brought a spaciousness to the practice. Lovely!
I emjoyed this technique. Although I wanted to close my eye I appreciate the benefits of keeping them open. It allowed me to focus more on one spot whilst still being aware of my environment (as in MindCalm) I will definitley teach to my groups
I felt completely relaxed and a little sleepy while doing; however once I came out of it I was back to feeling a little tense again.
Like so many others it was a little different doing this exercise with eyes open but surprisingly easy nonetheless. Also like some others I was at home late in the evening with no real distractions so that might have contributed to it being so easy and relaxing. Definitely worth trying sometime soon in the midst of a little more chaos.
Good exercise and reminder how important getting oriented to the environment we are in to feel safe really is, especially for clients who have difficulty feeling safe.
I have used this before when facilitating groups. Personally, I find it hard to do this. I get so distracted by other things when my eyes are open.
I found it difficult at first due to having my eyes open, however I think with some practice it will become easier to just be in the moment. I think it’s a great tool that I will utilise many thanks.
I do this meditation daily and find it very helpful. I often alternate days with eyes closed and eyes open and have found both methods helpful.
I truly enjoy meditating and teach my students how to meditate. I have not used the eyes open technique but will incorporate it into my therapy sessions. The bonus is that many of the kids with whom I work love to have choices……now they can choose eyes open or eyes closed.
I’ve done mindful breathing exercises, and I’ve never thought to intentional have my eyes open. I think this is going to be an excellent tool to keep in mind for youth who are triggered and fearful and don’t want to have their eyes closed. Thank you !
Being able to scope my surrounding and see that there was nothing to fear helped me massively with being able to get calm and relax into my environment. Closing the eyes can be extremely anxiety triggering for me and students I’ve noticed as well, so I was so happy to be able to scan the environment and find comfort in that.
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