Week 2 Practice Assignment

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114 thoughts on “Week 2 Practice Assignment”

  1. I always find myself feeling a little bit awkward when I start doing these exercises. I think it’s difficult for me to let my guard down. I find this true of my students too, who really struggle with letting their guard down long enough to let their mind relax. This goes hand in hand with what we have been talking about with regards to trauma. Students are always alert and looking for the “snake” or the “tiger in the jungle” to come out and catch them. I will say, that once I am able to let my guard down, I feel refreshed and calm. I’m able to let go of any frustrations I might have had and move on with what I am working on. Mindfulness is something that I hope to bring more of in my classroom this year. I think it’s important for students to get into the practice of letting go, relaxing and connecting to what’s happening in their brains.

  2. I find it fairly easy to relax when practicing mindful breathing, however, this has taken some time for me. I find that I can literally feel my stress levels reducing when I take the time to simply breathe. I teach a trauma course in my program and we begin and end each class with some form of mindfulness; visualization, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing. Most of my students are able to immerse themselves in the experience and its benefits, however, there are some who are still not comfortable with this. One thing I noted from participating in this activity is how much I believe the meditation bell added to the experience for me. I was surprised by this and am going to look into purchasing a bell!

  3. I love this. I think the science behind visualization and guided imagery is so fascinating. I have used this with some of the high school age volleyball players I coach because so much of the game is mental and I want to support them in that way. However, I struggle to use if with my ED/BD students. It’s soooo hard to do an activity like this without someone starting to laugh or not take it seriously. But maybe that means they are uncomfortable with the quiet and vulnerability of such exercises.

  4. This is a great practice. I really liked that you had us have our eyes opened. So many that have experienced trauma fight the closing of the eyes. But scanning the room to know you are safe, seems natural and smart. It allows for a better connection to the breathing exercise and experience. It felt great to do this and know I can lead this activity.

  5. I really enjoyed this practice, and found it easy to relax and really get into it. I think what helped me was being told it was OK to scan the room, look around, etc… I always find it difficult to sit still or close my eyes at first and being told that scanning the room and keeping my eyes open really let me invest in the moment and take part. I found that I was actually much more focused by the end of the exercise and I really engaged in this exercise. Saying that though, I am not sure how long it would take me to feel comfortable walking my students through something like this. I may need to start with a sample like this or record something similar. I think it may be challenging for me at first to stay calm, focused and with the right tone. I do think that it would be useful though. And especially for my students being online, sending a recording out like this would be incredibly easy to do. I really think I could do it, it just may take more practice on my end.

  6. I, personally, found it very difficult to do this meditation with my eyes open. It was challenging for me to really focus on the feeling of the breath. I anticipated that I would have difficulty focusing and would be distracted by the visual stimulation in the room. I wasn’t. I just gazed at the refrigerator for most of time, without thoughts of making dinner, washing that finger print off the door, or whatever. I began integrating mindfulness in my class last year. Last year I had a couple of students who had difficulty quieting their eyes, this year I have many. This is making me wonder “why”. I am going to try this in meditation with my students and see how they do. (I might have to think about room arrangement a bit to avoid the students distracting each other.)

  7. I practice and teach mindfulness meditation to prek-adults so this practice feels “at home” to me. I typically ask students to close their eyes (unless i know that i’m working with students w/trauma) BUT with the caveat that if eyes closed feels uncomfortable they also have the option to find a natural place to focus/place their gaze. This is super important since in a regular classroom i may not be aware of students that have experienced trauma, but that most likely some of the students will have experienced trauma. I also include that i will keep my eyes open during the practice to keep the space safe. In a breath practice i have also observed that for some students with anxiety, paying attention to the breath can increase their anxiety. I offer to them the option of focusing on their hands or feet. I also offer the option to try paying attention to the breath for maybe 3 breaths and then move to the feet or hands.

  8. At first it was very difficult to do this exercise with my eyes open. For a moment there is felt like I was falling asleep and then I had to consciously remind myself to focus on you voice to remember that my eyes are to be open. While scanning my environment I notice my heart rate starting to race a bit as if something was going to happen but after my 6th breathe I calmed down and stared feeling sleepy. I kept saying in my head “keep your eyes open Iman its suppose to be open.” At the end of the practice when the bell rang each time it rang I felt my eyes clothes tight and then open while listening to the sound ring out. After the last ring my head was a little light. This is something I would practice with my youths because it something I see them using while on their own when in times of distress. I am pretty sure some of them will find it very awkward to do though.

  9. It was okay for me because it is something that I’m already accustomed to. I would try to meditate at least once a week and I also practice breathing exercises that are different from this one. I use it in order for me to maintain balance and to also to not become overwhelmed with the type of work that I do. I do feel calm after the exercise and I think it would be something worthwhile to teach the people that I work with. Thanks.

  10. I stink at meditation & usually get anxious-I loved the different approach of keeping my eyes open ans scanning the room and being told it was OK to let my mind wander. I ended up wishing the audio recording was longer! I am working with 10 year old boys right now and would love if I can get them to try this. They don’t sit still for much !

  11. Suzanne Wallace

    This was a nice grounding activity. Doing this at home I felt very safe and relaxed. In a school setting I would need to ensure a location with minimal distractions, which can be difficult. I do think more mindfulness activities can benefit our schools but needs to be built into the culture.

  12. I enjoyed this type of meditation. Keeping my eyes open to wander and allowing my brain to filter thoughts as needed allowed me to feel more comfortable as the mediation went on. I did end closing my eyes after I felt like my mind was done being “busy” which helped me focus more on my breathing. I think this method could be very useful in helping others. Thanks!

  13. I felt very relaxed and sleepy. During the exercise, I also noticed that my mind kept getting distracted after about 15 seconds. If I did not keep my eyes open, I probably would have fallen asleep.
    I have used this technique with adult clients. Some of them said that it helped them to feel relaxed, while others who have experienced severe, repeated traumas felt too overwhelmed by the silence and sitting still.

  14. Jennifer Casper

    I felt completely relaxed. I usually meditate with my eyes closed so this was new for me. I really liked the orienting and scanning the environment for safety.

  15. Practicing mindfulness has always been awkward for me, but I was quite surprised how keeping my eyes open made it feel less awkward. It takes practice to get to a level of comfort. Students can also have the same feelings about mindfulness, so giving them a chance to practice can also help them get to a level of comfort.

  16. I like doing mindfulness breathing. I try it to do it more regularly. It does have a calming effect. I want to and will teach this to students first, and hopefully it catches on more on a wider level. Nonetheless, anybody can benefit from deep breathing.

  17. Practicing hindbrain breathing/mindfulness is a quick and easy way to clear the mind of the clutter that stifles thinking. Almost immediately after a session, I feel relaxed and cognitively prepared for anything. I compare it to “defragging” a computer, the process by which the computer’s fragmented and scattered memory is consolidated to clear space in the memory’s capacity to increase its processing efficiency. I’ve already taught this process to my personal children and practice it before taking them to school. I’d certainly be open to using the process in the workplace with colleagues.

  18. The hind brain breathing technique was surprisingly a pleasant exercise. Most breathing exercises I’ve done in the past my eyes were closed. With this exercise I was able to fully immerse myself into the meditation and focus on my deep breathing as I allowed my eyes to scan/wonder around the room. I originally thought that having my eyes opened would prevent me from focusing; however, it did the latter. It brought some sense of peace knowing that I am in a safe place. It allowed for me to stay calm and concentrate. I am more focused that I initially was.
    I believe it is easy enough to learn and can be thought to youths. However, I think it would best doing so on a one on one basis as oppose to a group. There may be some kind of distraction, or there may be others in the group that may not take the exercises seriously. Overall it was a wonderful experience.

  19. The Hind Brain meditation was pleasant overall…
    At first I just wanted to close my eyes to get into my usual meditation mental state
    after a moment my mind stopped fighting and i enjoyed looking around it was similar to mindful walking
    then my vision went blurry and I wanted to close my eyes again…
    I felt calm and focusing on my breathing really felt comforting
    Yes i feel that I could teach this method to youth I have been teaching mindful seeing with lower school children with some success

  20. I enjoyed this experience especially as it came after a stressful episode. I wanted to close my eyes with the deep breathes, yet do see how having open eyes allows focus on one point and sparks logical thought regarding that point. It seems true that when I can think for myself, my sense of control is greater.

  21. Shumba61gmail.com

    I find this type of relaxing very enjoyable and refreshing. I use mindfulness with the students that I work with. Not all students enjoy the experience.

  22. I found it difficult to sit still, or somewhat still. Not because I am particularly wiggly but probably because I was supposed to stay seated for that period of time. I also found it very difficult to relax without closing my eyes, I did briefly close my eyes. I did not find it relaxing however I admit I might if I practiced a bit. At this point I probably wouldn’t try this with anyone considering that I didn’t find it helpful/successful for myself. I do understand though that this does help some people so I should maybe put some effort into trying it a few more times. I do practice deep breathing with my littles who get escalated from time to time.

  23. I love doing this, we probably all need to work a bit more of this in to our days. I do this kind of thing with my students, some enjoy it some find it uncomfortable. I use the smiling mind app, I will continue to use it with my students.

  24. This kind of practice is not new to me, but what was interesting was the suggestion to keep eyes open. Mine kept closing as I quieted myself, as is habit, but for the young people I work with, this might be a more comfortable exercise.

  25. Marcie Carballo

    Hindbrain breathing was a good eperience for me. While doing the deep breathingt i kept yawning and wanting to close my eyes as my body started relaxing. I could have felt my body just moving into a state of calm and relaxation which felt really good. It made me realize how much more i need to practice deep breathing because i could have felt the transition from being tensed to being calm and relaxed. This is an exercise that i plan to do with clients as well as my collegues.

  26. Marlene Ramirez

    Practicing my breathing or mindfulness has always been difficult for me because I have a hard time just shutting down my thoughts. This exercise was especially hard for me because I kept wanting to close my eyes. I find that closing my eyes helps me focus more. I noticed that keeping my eyes open kept me very distracted. I kept changing my focus points and then I would start thinking “focus on one thing,” “Okay, go back and focus on the other thing.” I felt pretty good after I was done with the exercise. I definitely was relaxed. I will definitely have to try and practice this daily before I teach it to the people I work with.

  27. I found this Hindbrain breathing exercise to be very pleasant and enjoyable. I do practice a form of this often, but this was different and more full-bodied. I felt extremely relaxed and found myself growing very tired, almost wanting to fall asleep. I do feel that I could practice this daily and, I do feel as if I could teach this to students, co workers etc.. The one thing that I did note is that I like the exercise done with your voice, meaning your voice was like “white noise,” causing me to relax more. It was easier to leave thoughts behind and relax when you were speaking softly, slowly and giving directives to what we should do during the exercise. Very enjoyable and I will use this and practice this regularly.

  28. I enjoyed the experience. I often have difficulty settling in to breathing or savasana type exercises as my busy brain doesn’t sit still easily. I liked an trying an “eyes open” style as I have received feedback from students that closing their eyes is extremely difficult for them. I found I could still relax well with a softened, eyes open gaze. I have had a student on the autism spectrum tell me that overriding his body’s automatic function of breathing made him feel very uncomfortable and worried. We used a Hoberman’s Sphere to visually anchor his breath. That helped him practice. Thanks very much for the rest and digest! I feel like I don’t do it often enough.

  29. I found it difficult to stay quiet and to keep myself in the same posture while listening to the audio, when looking around letting my eyes go naturally, they seem to be dancing and bumping and it was not easy for me to keep calmed. Breathing is very important, so it was a good idea to focus on how my lungs and stomach were moving up and down while imagining this motion to actually happen. I see my self teaching this technique to young people besides active meditation techniques which could be a good complement to practice focusing.

  30. First of all this experience was soothing and calming to me as I breathed in and out from below my stomach which is like from my diaphragm. This felt pleasant as I inhaled in new refreshing oxygen which I can say that I felt this oxygen reaching inside my brain so to speak. Scanning my environment with my eyes open was like drifting freely without trying to and coming to a calm state of mind within my inner self as I breathe. I can safely say that this made me feel and reflect that I am also tapping into my vagus nerve as I enter a calm state. The ringing of bell allowed me to shift my focus easily and calmly effortlessly in listening to the fading sound. Nonetheless, this is a practice I could definitely be using consistently and a big YES to sharing such practice with those who I work with. In addition, as a footnote this exercise reminds me of “Dragon Breathing” that I usually practice with my little three year old daughter when she is in an emotional state of mind in an effort to assist her in calming and soothing herself through deep breathing.

  31. Cristina Mateus

    First of all, let me congratulate you for the way you guided us throughout the practice. It was a soothing relaxation, calmed me down (been a bit all over the place lately) and the exercice really created some inner space of peace and the sense of being present in the moment. Eyes open- that’s a challenge but really appreciated the goal. There were a couple of moments I found myself with my eyes closed, though. I practice Yoga and I’m interested in meditation/ visualization techniques. (Did your course of Mindfulnes- thanks!) Last year, I had a meditation club in my school, free and open to all interested. Kids would generally join during more stressful moments and a couple of them were attending all sessions. I liked your approach of this kind of practices through a more physiological explanation (some kids I work with I very attached to the idea that only hippies and monks meditate and present a huge resistance to it – I see an increasing need of people in general to peace their minds, calm their bodies and listen to themselves even if for a short moment of time.)

  32. I have always loved mindfulness and I often forget to implement it into my own life, even though I teach it to my kids I work with on a regular basis. I really enjoyed how you guided us through the exercise, I often use recorded lessons with my students because I don’t like being the one talking. I also would really like to get a bell, I enjoyed incorporating that into the exercise. I did struggle with having my eyes open, I felt very distracted, so I ended up closing my eyes for most of it. I feel more relaxed and ready to tackle my day now (I did this exercise before meeting with any students to help center myself.) I am comfortable teaching breathing to others but I do need to practice it more consistently in my own life.

  33. I appreciate keeping the eyes open. Not a lot of kiddos can do this with their eyes closed, because that is sometimes a reminder of the trauma (closing eyes and covering ears during the actual trauma). Personally, I found the exercise great, but recognized things in my office that are crooked or need to be cleaned so for me, it is better to keep my eyes closed. But then I might get too relaxed.

  34. I like that there is a choice when meditating and eyes open for someone who is traumatised may be a preferred option and help them feel safe. Eyes open didn’t particularly help me relax, I relax better with eyes shut and either listening or concentrating on the breath, I really liked the sound of the chime, the vibration felt like it cleared out my mind.
    I like the simplicity of this practice, it’s a good tool to have in the box.

  35. Hello Everyone,

    My experience with this exercise…I realized that I was under some stress. I found it hard to breathe and it felt like I was trying to blow up a balloon that had limited elasticity (You know when you have to tug it a couple of times to loosen it?). The experience brought me back into awareness of my body’s sensations and further allowed me to recognize what other emotions were lingering near by as well. This was a reminder that breath is important, and for this moment it was all about the breath. A wonderful resource to have to help our youth who may need to have their balloons stretched too!

  36. I enjoyed doing this activity, with the words and focus on breathing i was able to find a safe place. I really enjoyed the fact that they kept the eyes open for it. Scanning the room and realizing that you are in a safe place and that, that world around the person is a safe situation. It is calming, and relaxing allowing yourself to focus on the fact that the area around the person is safe. That they are in a safe environment while doing the exercise. I truly believe I could lead this exercise and get a positive result from it.

  37. I’m not usually one that takes easily to these types of activities, but in this case I found to my surprise that I enjoyed it! For me, what made this different was keeping my eyes closed. In other instances where I’ve tried to use deep breathing it has always been with closed eyes. When I close my eyes I find that my mind and thoughts become flighty. With eyes open, I felt much more present with my environment and in the moment. In addition to my professor/therapist roles, I also coach youth and high school football and lacrosse and specialize in working with lacrosse goalies. I think that this would be very helpful in helping them find their “optimum level of arousal” (i.e., Yerkes-Dodson principle) as over arousal of often an issue that leads to “freezing” and declines in performance. I know that you said we’re going to learn more about this later, but are there any resources that I can get my hands on now? I’m plowing through van der Kolk’s book now and really am enjoying it.

  38. With a five year old son it is difficult to find alone time to meditate. When I finally got to do it I thought it was strange at first but very relaxing. It was difficult to not fall asleep. I am sure that this technique if done properly will be helpful to the young men I work with.

  39. I found this practice easy to follow and quite refreshing; I was able to let my tension slip away even in the midst of a hectic day which has included dealing with an upset student and parent just a few minutes ago. The lack of demand to close the eyes is an advantage for a practice that can be used at work or school, or as some here have pointed out, by folks who feel reluctant or awkward when they close their eyes. And yes, I feel I could teach this technique to others (especially if I had a meditation bell or chime: it’s a great “entrance and exit” device), although I understand that it may take some time for someone who isn’t used to relaxation techniques. Luckily at the middle school where I work, we have daily wellness breaks and the students are all taught some version of meditation, even if they don’t all take to it with great enthusiasm 😉

  40. Thank you for this exercise, Sam. I found it to be a pleasant variation on mindfulness practices, and can imagine how supportive it could be for anyone who is working through experiences of trauma or who – for any reason – feels uncomfortable closing their eyes during relaxation/breath practices.

  41. I loved this practice and it was just what I needed tonight after a difficult week. Keeping eyes open/ using the orienting response was great. I will always let students know that opening eyes and looking around the room can be helpful if a sit becomes uncomfortable. It hadn’t occurred to me to do a whole practice this way and intentionally engage that orienting response. Light bulb moment! Thank you!

  42. Tiffany Garbutt

    Definitely an interesting exercise. I have only recently attempted to do guided mediation, but had so much difficulty silencing my mind. What made this particular activity interesting is having been directed to keep my eyes opened. In the first instance, it was very difficult for me to keep my eyes opened and remained focused. I kept scanning the room trying to find something worth looking at. There were moments when I could not help but close my eyes; trying to get into a state of relaxation. I am glad to report that after a couple minutes I managed to settle and follow through the breathing exercise. As soon as I was able to do that, I felt the difference in my body; I became relaxed. I can definitely see the benefits of practicing breathing activities with the clients and as part of my routine. It could definitely help us to learn to regulate those unwanted reactions/impulses that sometimes plagues us and bring much needed calmness/relaxation to our bodies and minds as we unload life’s routines.

  43. Hello everyone,
    I enjoyed this exercise and use mindfulness mediation weekly with my direct support staff members. Each week we utilize mindfulness meditation as a way to end our week. I have a hard time slowing down. I tend to find that when I am sitting there my mind wanders constantly and it seems like the harder I try to stop it the fast and further it goes. Since I have stopped trying to control it I have found some relief. My staff report that they feel more anxious after mindfulness mediation. Our group is participating in mindfulness mediation as part of a research study with a local University that we partner with to explore the effectiveness of our services.

  44. Patricia Gallardo

    I found this mindfulness activity to be a little difficult for me, especially after a long hectic day. Like others have shared my mind can sometimes wonder and think of my “to do list.” It took me a few minutes to be able to finally relax. Once I was able to relax I felt fine. Mindfulness/meditation is something that I would like to continue to incorporate into my own routine. It is something that I am currently modeling with both students and staff at my school sites.

  45. Martha Ríos-López

    I’m in my bedroom and is early in the morning. I’m sleepy but willing to watch the videos and do the practices. My time is limited… I would like to keep myself on track with this semi-paced course…
    That’s in the back of my mind … “I have a busy day ahead”… its in the back of my mind… “visit to the Ministry of Education…” … notice a sensation … name it ‘resistance’… thought… “I won’t sale my soul to the devil…”… another thought “I said I would never work for the government again…”… a sensation … “is it hope?, Excitement?” Wow… a mindful teacher’s programme… and a Mindful Parenting too… sensations in my belly…
    In the meantime I’m also aware of breathing in and breathing out… my eyes don’t want to stay open… noting sleepiness… noting tiredness … there is some tension behind the ears… breathing in and breathing out…
    The thoughts and sensations come in and out… mostly focused on the breath going in and out, the belly and chest movement… noting the releasing of tension behind the ears and shoulders…
    At the end noting openness, calmness… and just want to go back to bed and have a hell of a day… working with my own resistances to work for the government yet again… the Ministry of Education yet again… Mindful Parenting… Mindful Teaching… and so on… and I just want to go back to bed …. the last remnants of a heavy cold are still there…
    Ta Sam

  46. This exercise helped me get into a very relaxed state. I enjoyed keeping my eyes open but softly focusing and being allowed to have thoughts throughout. Following your voice helped me to stay on focus and the bell was great. I was almost able to listen to it in entirely but towards the end, my thoughts interfered. Overall, I found this a very forgiving way to meditate and could imagine using this as an intro to mindfulness exercise with youth. Keeping eyes open, allowing thoughts, focusing on breath and the use of the bell all seem like techniques that would assist youth in starting the journey into mindfulness.

  47. Conseulo Hernandez

    Hi Sam:

    The brain hind breathing exercise was pleasant and very relaxing that I was about to sleep. It made me feel relax and out of my real present. I made my mind go blank and your voice was very soft and relaxing. It made me focuss on the fture I want to have and no negative experiences came to my mind. I felt a peace inside me and calm. Good feeling. This meditation can be used with some of my women groups that I work with as most of them are victims of abuse and it can help them. I understand that all persons have different reactions, but I do also believe that meditation is good for the brain and the body. So happy to be part of this program.

  48. Carnellie Fritz

    Throughout the exercise I was sporadically finding difficulty with allowing myself to be fully engulfed by it. I was not totally comfortable with it the entire time. The breathing helped this though, the deep breaths helped and I found myself calmer and more focused, relaxed and immersed. After the exercise I felt more aware, a more bolstered sense of self and my surroundings. I like that. I think it’s something I can practice more often and even so with the youth I work with

  49. I practice yoga and often do breathing and meditation exercises like this, because I find them very grounding and relaxing, but also a good way to calm my busy mind. I suppose that has come with practice though. I enjoy the use of a chime, particularly with people who don’t practice this often, or with people trying it for the first time, because often having something to focus on like the sound of the chime, helps to push other thoughts out of the mind, while if there is no “neutral” thing to focus on, those thoughts are more persistent. I have taught this technique to others already, so I feel comfortable with that. One thing I add sometimes is to clench or flex various muscle groups and then relax them, because often, especially with children, they don’t know what it feels like to relax certain muscles without activating them first. Or they don’t realize they have been activated until they are asked to activate them.
    I also agree with some of the previous comments, that I like the option of keeping eyes open during this practice. I have encountered students in the past who have great difficulty keeping their eyes closed, because it makes them feel quite vulnerable.

  50. This is something I do very often – usually with my eyes closed. Being a yoga teacher, I am constantly teaching this type of breathing. Love it!

  51. This was relaxing, in fact, I got a little sleepy. I could see doing this with students — especially with eyes open. I appreciated the instruction to not worry about training the mind or the wandering of the mind, just to breathe deeply and slowly to activate the hindbrain. I have heard that to encourage the parasympathetic nervous system, one should breathe out for a longer count than breathing in — but I don’t know if that’s just a somatic myth or has significant grounding in physiology. Does anyone else know?

  52. I have done mindfulness before for myself and with students. I like the idea of keeping our eyes open. When I had students in a group close their eyes it was very uncomfortable for them- understandably so. I prefer to have the chimes start and finish as this hindbrain breathing did. The students also seemed to prefer the chime as well

  53. Pamela LaVergne

    I almost fell asleep and had to work to keep awake! I’ve done mindfulness before but not with a bell. For some reason the bell seems to reset my thinking patterns to a calmer state.. The bell also helps me let go of igniting thoughts. I also did this with a client using the bell and he loved the bell too. He was a teenager that I had been working with for awhile and often had a flat affect and no motivation. He was so excited after meditation with the bell that he said it was the best session ever!

  54. This was a very simple exercise that I feel I could integrate into my current meditation practice. I like that there’s no pressure to focus the mind and feel that this aspect of the meditation would make this more inviting and doable for youth. When practicing this, I found it interesting that when scanning my environment I became very aware of an exposed window and labeled it in my mind as a place of vulnerability.

  55. I also found it difficult to keep my eyes open. I’m used to dropping into meditation with eyes closed. I see the value in it, though, especially in working with youth who may not feel comfortable or safe closing their eyes to do a breathing exercise.

  56. I often use various meditations at the end of the day or if I have trouble winding down before bed. I thought the eyes-open approach was interesting, but I felt like I was a bit more distracted than normal. I have not had good responses from students with meditation in the past… they seem to be a hard sell with my population. But I have had some success with teaching students to count their breath (in-1 out-2 in-3 and so on up to 10, then start over) if they are having difficulty falling asleep omg or calming down.

  57. I really liked the explicit call out of scanning my environment for safety. Especially if you are using this exercise with others, its a mindful way of letting those who have been through trauma start at the same place as those who have not. I think safety is often assumed and yet so essential in feeling grounded. If we want to create mindful environments we need to not assume and create safe spaces for everyone without singling them out.

  58. I find the hindbrain breathing exercise to be very relaxing and calms me down almost immediately. Most mediations I know ask that you have your eyes close but having my eyes open for this one made me realize it was easy to follow through as I could focus on nothing other than my breathing. I really enjoyed this exercise and I’ll be sure to use it more often and share it with the people I work with. Thank you.

  59. I liked the focus on the body only and not having to still the mind; with the orientation of keeping the eyes open this felt safe and right. I became aware of where i was holding tension in my body. A lovely practice that I will use myself and with clients.

  60. This was an interesting experience for me. I began practicing meditation about 6 months ago as a strategy to help reduce anxiety symptoms. The hindbrain breathing technique was different than what I’m used to because it asked me to keep my eyes open. I found it more difficult to focus on my breathing with my eyes open than if I closed them. I’m sure with practice this would come to feel more natural. I would imagine that this technique would be very helpful with those who have experienced trauma and feel threatened when they can’t see what is around them. Thanks so much for sharing this technique.

  61. This exercise was a difficult for me, as is most breathing exercises. I always have trouble controlling my breathing. Once I have to consciously breath in and out (especially deeply), I feel like I am not getting enough oxygen. I absolutely hate the sensation of not being able to breath (yet I am a self proclaimed mermaid lol). At one point in the exercise, I felt like I was getting light headed and I had to zone out. I had to step back from the exercise and focus on something else to calm down and forget that I am forcing myself to breath. I have never done meditation exercise with the eyes open so that was definitely interesting. All in all, this didn’t work for me due to my breathing fear. I believe if there was another element added to it, I could probably do this.

  62. I like this exercise although I tend to stay away from breathing exercises for some in my practice. Some folks experience a rise in anxiety with breath work. I tend to use meditation techniques that use staying present and focused on thoughts. I enjoy that type of mediation more personally. I guess that is why it is good to have a trusting theraputic relationship with your client so that they feel ok to verbalize their needs.

  63. The hind brain breathing technique is a great practice exercise. I did find it somewhat difficult to focus initially. Even though I often practice mindfull breathing and meditate to relax and collect my thoughts, I found it to be very different from my normal approach. Eventually, I was able to relax and focus following the first breathing technique. I did find myself becoming somewhat too calm, in that I became rather sleepy halfway through. I feel this would definitely be beneficial with some youth. I also feel that I would be able to teach this to some of them, and thry would find it very helpful. However, I feel that some of the youth may find the breathing technique to be rather chanllenging or be unwilling to participate.

  64. I think this would be a great exercise to help kids self regulate . I tried it , but I had a hard time focusing with all of the distractions and my mind racing . It would be a helpful technique , but would take some practice and limited distractions.

  65. I find these types of mindfulness exercises relaxing. I use them frequently when overly stressed or having difficulty sleeping. I teach breathing and mindfulness exercises to youth I work with on a weekly basis.

  66. I have done mindfulness techniques quite a bit over the years, however, I am not expert and I do not practice it. I would really like to attend a workshop to teach me how to teach these exercises. I enjoy these exercises when I allow myself to. This was no exception. When it first started I had trouble concentrating. My mind was all over the place. Then, I noticed my shoulders were tense and my heart was beating fast. This surprised me. I hadn’t realized my body was stressed. As the exercise progressed my shoulders relaxed and my heart slowed.

    I do teach similar techniques to the youth I work with. Many have already been exposed to mindfulness or breathing techniques, so they generally respond well to it. I sometimes modify the length of some of the exercises to prevent the youth from getting silly or falling asleep. I have also learned that the voice of the person guiding the exercise is very important. I have had clients with trauma histories have a negative response to male voices.

  67. I have a difficult time shutting my brain off, so it was refreshing to know that it is OK for the mind to wander during this exercise. I often feel that we are expected to be experts in mindfulness and relaxation techniques, with the expectation to focus only on breathing. I think this is a great alternative for students who want to keep their eyes open and scan their environment for safety. This can also be helpful for students who are experiencing a great amount of anxiety during social situations. As the exercises concludes, I feel very relaxed and ready for bed. 🙂

  68. I always really enjoy mindfulness exercises. I am never fully aware of how tense my body is until I’m forced to re-focus my awareness on my breathing and to be more in touch with senses. I really love how my focus shifts and I am able to relieve the tension or calm myself down simply by breathing. I always feel better after completing an exercise like I’ve just done yoga. Mindfulness is something I keep wanting to do but need to prioritize during my day. I’m reminded of how important it is every time I do an exercise and I feel more motivated to prioritize doing this in the coming week so that I can hopefully teach it to my students one day too.

  69. It felt weird not to close my eyes. In all other meditation I have done, eyes are closed. I can see how that would be helpful for students, especially if they have experienced trauma. Students often seem to wonder who might be looking at them and then don’t focus on the activity. Also, it might help them to be able to relax a bit more if they can see if there is danger coming. While doing this activity, I could really feel my heart beating very fast at first but then felt it slow down after a few minutes. I did this activity when I was pretty tired so was very mellow as it was and felt even more relaxed after. I think this can be helpful with students (after some practice of course). Breathing activities can help students focus on other things rather than their anxiety, fear, etc.

  70. I am a daily meditator and have been for a long time, so, while this was a little different than my Vipassana practice, it was neither uncomfortable nor difficult, It is more similar to the relaxation and breathing techniques I use when I teach yoga classes. Given the number of dysregulated students I saw on my campus in the past 3 weeks, I was trying to reflect on the benefit of this practice from a teenager’s perspective, esp. one in the middle of a panic attack or feeling high anxiety. Keeping your eyes open when you try to feel safer is important, and it takes a deeper sense of comfort to close one’s eyes.
    I taught basic mindfulness sessions in high school classes in the past when I was still teaching, using a 3-tone chime, and, while the kids were giggly and awkward at first, they quickly realized the benefit it, how quickly it could impact them, and they wanted more.
    My question from a counselor’s perspective is how to introduce this with a kid who shows up in my office in a moment of crisis or upset. Right there and then, does not seem to be the time to engage in deep breathing; there has to be a step in between so that they can reduce their anxiety or anger (or whatever strong emotion): stress ball, talking, listening on my part, holding ice…. (?)

  71. Sharette Gentle

    Hmmm, at home trying to do the Hind Brain breathing exercise with a lap top that barely functioning, was not on my list for a peaceful sunday afternoon. So, after minutes of frustration out of the computer, I began to do the exercise but to my dismay after reading the comments, everyone was taking about thier eyes open, lol. So I did it again with my eyes open. I never really taught of mediation but knew it was a tool to calm your nerve.

    So after doing it with my eyes open, I realized it way different from when your eyes are close, it was difficult to focused. I could not focused my mind was wondering all over the place thinking about reports that needs to be completed and so forth. Minutes after the consistency of deep breathing, it became easier and I realized that I need to try this type of breathing exercise whenever I feel overwhelm. I will share this with my clients that I work with but I must first put this as apart of my daily routine.

  72. Hello!
    This was an interesting exercise for me…I found it really challenged my idea of my own self-perceived “calmness”. I thought “this will be easy…especially that it’s 1am and I’m tired!” Instead, I found my body feeling at peace but my mind desperate to charge ahead like a racehorse at the gate. It made me realize that what I am able to project outwards may not match with how I feel inside and that I should make space to see where those two parts intersect.
    I did notice a resounding calmness in my body which I appreciated and was better able to identify.
    I can see how this would be a valuable tool with triggered individuals as they can at times not perceive their level of energy….and this slows it down and allows the user to analyze their body, feelings and thoughts in a very safe way.

  73. As soon as the exercise started, I settled on my couch, feeling comfortable in this hindbrain breathing technique as I sometimes practice this type of breathing exercise. As soon as you said we could leave our eyes open, I recognized this adaptation to support people with trauma since scanning for safety helps to quiet the brain. It was helpful to do this activity right after receiving all the information about the brain. I have shared this technique with some individuals but not many. The environment in my high school setting isn’t really conducive to teaching this practice although I’m open to trying.

  74. Sabeth Rodriguez

    I found this exercise to be challenging because I am use to meditating with my eyes closed so that the surroundings doesn’t distract me from being focused and relaxation. Even Though i couldn’t close my eyes, i did find it calming and relaxing. The most difficult part I would say is not becoming focused with the surroundings or my thoughts drifting away on something else that I needed to do or something I was looking at in my surroundings. I felt a bit sleepy when i completed this exercise, being in that trans mode from busy working to relaxing. I was in tune with my breathing recognizing that at the beginning my breathing was heavy but it slowly started to normalize and it felt relaxing. I would like to teach some of the family to practice this meditation because i found it to be very beneficial in helping me to relax.

  75. I am going through some back issues right now, so it was hard to forget about the pain. That said, I did find myself drifting toward a more centered state. I used to practice this exercise when playing Judo, but that was many years ago. Bringing this practice to the classroom would present some challenges only because I am next door to the wood shop, so there is nothing quite about my teaching environment.

  76. When I first saw this exercise a week ago as an activity I stopped there, finding a quiet place and doing such technique is not so easy in my case. I am always surrounded by people, there is always something going on after a week I still have not found that space to just be; in any case I proceeded. I found that my curiosity was at its peek to see how this will work on me and to learn something new. Well I don’t know if its the computer or my brain but I just could hear Sam voice loud enough to follow the instructions. Holding the netbook close to my ear worked a bit better but was not comfortable; after three minutes my son walked in wanted to know what am I doing with the computer to my head..lol. In the first few minutes I struggled to quiet my mind from thinking how the youth will respond to this? who will I try it with first the males or the females? is this working for me? am I doing it right? do I need to start over because my mind is wondering? O..mein..the list went on. I have trust in the technique as I am sure that with you and your team’s experience and research that you are introducing a technique that works once done properly. I will surely do this technique over a few times for myself; I believe that this will work with the youth that I work with in the facility. I can envision a few of them making the request for it to be done and even learning to do it on their own. Due to the trusting issues of some of the youth, having their eyes open while doing the exercise I am sure will not make them so anxious to try the technique initially.

  77. I found the open eyes very strange for me. I practice my own mindfulness as well as teach the practice to children. I often find that children have a hard time closing their eyes at the beginning of practice. I am excited to try this variation with them and see if they find it easier. I myself did this practice three different times and really noticed how my states of being effected how easy it was to access the parasympathetic system and even how calm I felt coming out of the practice. Thank you

  78. LaTasha Castillo

    Meditation has always been a difficult thing for me. I find it hard to just relax and not focus on my breathing. and when I do breathe slowly I get sleepy. However this experience had me feeling calm after it was completed . I feel more relaxed. I feel that if i have more practice I can use it with clients. First I need to better understand my body so I can help others with this technique.

  79. I find it very difficult to practice mindfulness. I am not able to just sit and breath and be mindful for more than 2 minutes. My brain starts to wonder off and think about other things. Also, it’s challenging for me to just sit and listen to someone without moving. I think it is a good practice especially for the children that I work with. The children like doing mind yeti and it really relaxes them. I teach it to my teachers and have them practice it as well.

  80. For me personally, I know the benefits of practicing mindfulness yet it is also challenging for me to consciously make time to practice it. I need to carve out time throughout my day to practice mindfulness. Once I do this, I think it will be easier for me to practice mindfulness when I need it the most.

  81. Even though I know and have experienced the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, I find it hard to maintain a consistent practice. It often feels like “one more thing” on my to-do list, feeling more like a chore than self-care. Which is precisely why I need its restorative energy and need to prioritize it in my daily schedule. Not just for the benefit of the folks I work with, but especially for my own growth and self-preservation!

  82. Relaxing. I like that it is simple and that it is explicitly stated that there is no goal of focus only on breath, letting thoughts go etc. I think that kids often respond better to exercises that have a “scientific” explanation ie. activate hind brain. I, too, felt more comfortable with my eyes closed but can see how a person who has experienced trauma might feel more safe with them open.

  83. Eichel Weller Alamilla

    The Hind Brain Breathing exercise was most interesting. As most have mentioned, the opened eyes proved to be more difficult than I initially expected. I was very distracted by my surroundings. This was not surprising, as a self diagnosed OCD, I saw every thing around me which needed some cleaning or organizing. The duration of the exercise I kept reminding myself to refocus. The breathing helped in refocusing. I did find myself more relaxed at the end of the meditation and wanted to engage a second time. This is something I will most definitely incorporate in my weekly routine, also, I plan to use with clients.

  84. I find the experience to be pleasant and relaxed as I breathe I am thinking of the thing I enjoy most in life. I hear birds calling out as I breathe I feel like I am in a forest looking at Painted Buntin frolicking about in a flowering tree.

  85. Marnette Westby

    For me this was an exercise I needed, currently working through some difficult interventions and mediation with the population, I work with and having just few days earlier made a decision to come out of the relationship I was in. I always think that these type of exercise don’t work for me. I guess today thou my forebrain, my logic was telling me to lets things go, so I very easily relaxed and I felt a calm coming over me. As i made my eyes just wonder off to that special place it went up into the ceiling and looking forward, that was a calming feeling. When it was time to come out of the relaxation, I thought already I was just feeling the great calm and relaxation. I will definitely be doing this again and again as I now understand and appreciates the feeling of relaxation. For me it will take some doing though to administer this type of practice to the population that I work with and yet I don’t know why, or maybe because this has been my first pleasant experience as I have done relaxation many times before, but always just concentrating on when it is going to finish rather than letting go.

  86. Leeza McFadzean

    I found this exercise a bit easy as I have previously done breathing exercises in yoga practice, however the open eyes made it a bit tricky as I am used to meditation with closed eyes. However the exercise still makes you very relaxed and enhances your focus on your surrounding. I would definitely use this exercise with clients, and I plan to continue practicing this exercise.

  87. I have not done any meditation or breathing exercise in a while, and found this to be lovely. I used to do this much more regularly, and would usually feel more calm, relaxed and focused afterward, as I did again today. It made me realize how much I have let my self-care slip, and so I have a renewed intention to incorporate this into my day. This is absolutely something I would want to utilize with youth, if possible.

  88. I began practicing mindfulness this summer while taking a Mindfulness Fundamentals course online. I found it easier to do this exercise as I have summers off and have time to dedicate to mindfulness practice. As the school year came into full swing, I had to deal with an ever-changing schedule, doing online courses, as well as planning my wedding and time to dedicate to this became last on my list.

    My biggest realization when doing this activity is how much is calms me. I’m very good and shoving all my thoughts and feelings aside and just doing what I need to do without realizing the impact is has on my body. Within the first three breaths, I felt myself become more calm. I am one of those people who carries all their tension in their neck and shoulders, and has to consciously remind myself to relax my shoulders. When doing these deep breathing exercises, my first observation was how my shoulders relaxed. This activity has reminded me how important it is to take time for ourselves throughout the day, to check in. It makes me excited to plan time to continue practicing mindfulness and to continue my education to educate others.

  89. I found this exercise to be helpful. It is a challenge for me to do these activities. I taught mindfulness to elementary students, however, it is always a challenge for me to do this for myself. I find it very helpful, I just need to be consistent.

  90. This practice exercise was very enjoyable. As a person who enjoys yoga and meditation, I found this as a pleasant task that I can incorporate in other sessions. What I really enjoyed about the Hind Mind Breathing exercise is that I was able to be truly ‘mindful of the present moment’. I will surely repeat and because of its calming impact I will share with my family, friends and clients.

  91. Thanks sir for the nice guidance in hindbrain meditation. I really enjoyed it. as we practice mindfulness meditation with our patients regularly, it was not something new. yet the meditation was new in the sense that the time, space and the guidance was something new. i feel that i can practice this consistiently at home and with patients whom i come across
    thanks a lot for the nice and great work.

  92. I’m already familiar with this type of meditation and have done it a good few times already over the past number of years, in various settings. So I found it comfortable and relaxing. I enjoy these types of mindfulness and meditation exercises as I have a personal interest in them, outside of work. It definitely helps you switch off and is very restful for your brain, eyes and body in general. I probably should do it more often as it would be of great benefit to me. But I just don’t remember it as it hasn’t become a regular habit with me. We used to have a woman doing meditation with a group of young people a few years ago, they really enjoyed it and I think this is something I’d like to re-introduce to our young people again at some stage – when I feel they would be ready and open to the experience. However, I don’t think they are quite ready yet.

  93. It was difficult to do with eyes open actually. I’m so used practicing with eyes closed. It was relieving not to need to focus on anything, that I could allow my attention to wander and still get the benefit of feeling deeply relaxed as a result of deep breathing. I practice this with the youth that I work with daily, and the hardest part isn’t just the experience of being still and focused, but rather getting them to engage in it seriously. I love this though.

  94. Sorry everyone and I hope late is better than never! I’m working hard to catch up still.

    I absolutely loved this exercise. I agree with some of the earlier posts about the eyes being opened. Not concentrating on keeping my eyes shut helped me to focus more on my breathing. I feel VERY relaxed. I have not tried meditation with my students as of yet, but I would like to try it in the near future. I have 13-to-18-year-old students and expect giggles being a little more than I can handle and possibly not completing the exercise. My students change every 90 days so maybe this current group might be receptive to meditation.

  95. I enjoyed starting with my eyes open, but over time I naturally felt drawn to shut them. This was very relaxing and I like the presentation of scanning the room to assess your safety. This is a great idea. I also liked the bell and being invited to consider our sense of hearing and mindfulness to the sound of the bell. Great!

  96. I like doing mediation it always bring a calmness to my brain at the point of me dropping asleep. it is very relaxing to me, I try doing it with some of my residents when they come in all storm up from something that happen that they don’t like. I try calm them down telling them to sit down for a while and take deep breathe in and out before we start to talk and its really help and i also try teaching my children too. mediation help me a lot with stress, pain, anxiety and getting mad I enjoy doing it.

  97. I always enjoy doing mindfulness and do them regularly with my students. This is definitely one I will be adding to my stock.

  98. I enjoyed doing this Hind brain breathing technique. It was different from the usual meditations that I do with my groups, but in a positive way.

  99. I enjoyed the breathing exercise, though I was at my work desk while I was doing it, so occasionally my phone or computer would ding at me to remind me of an e-mail or calendar event, or my eyes would settle on some reminder of a task I need to complete. I’d go from relaxed to agitated in a matter of moments. It was a good reminder of how easily a sense of peace and calm can be interrupted.

  100. I practice mindfulness mediation and will use if with someone who is stuck or becoming too reactive to our discussion. It is much easier for most of my clients to keep their eyes open and look down. For me I do better with my eyes closed even when leading a meditation.

  101. I found it particularly effective just allowing eyes to scan and then rest on what feels most comfortable. An effective way to stay present.

  102. I found this exercise a little difficult as is my previous experiences with meditation. My thoughts tend to go into overdrive when I try to meditate, and then I completely zone out, but I do continue to try this as I do believe in its benefits, particularly for kids and young people, I have seen positive effects of using this kind of technique in practice. I will try it again.

  103. I like this meditation. These are great tools to work with you. One of the things that I like to do is combine these types of exercises with smooth physical motions, like Qi Gong, to engage the body as well in more anxious clients. Once they are comfortable with this, it is easier for them to sit still while doing the practice.

  104. Meditation has been used for centuries to center, de-stress and become present to the world around us. “So Hum” and deep breathing is very helpful to restore oxygen to the brain. The body and brain enjoys getting oxygen, it is always enjoyable to take a few moments and just breath deeply. Great exercise for all ages, all stress levels and all trauma types. Thanks for the simple reminder on how easy it is to incorporate a few minutes of breathing into our interactions with youth and others.

  105. This was a pleasant experience for me and I felt calm afterward. I can see how this would be very beneficial and accessible to many people. I would like to incorporate this into my own life and share with others when appropriate.

  106. This activity was a bit difficult. I seem not to be able to relax and keep calm. I am going to attempt to try this activity again. Hopefully, next time I will have success. I am going to attempt to teach this to someone else.

  107. I really enjoyed this exercise. Allowing the eyes to scan the room- kind of giving permission
    to take everything in before settling could make the transition to relaxing the eyes easier. I also
    like how you built in the purpose of this exercise- “this one isn’t for focus….it’s just to relax that
    hind brain…”. This normalizes the situation- everyone’s hind brain can cause them trouble
    from time to time. And, it’s not all of you, it’s just that hindbrain (a specific part) that needs settling.
    This distances the “you” from the feeling. That we are “attempting to relax….” is also very good,
    acknowledging that this may or may not work right away that frustration is normal is very good.
    Thank you.

  108. I really enjoyed this exercise. I wasn’t able to find the quietest space, but I was still able to find myself calm and at peace while doing this exercise. It helped me zone out from the other noises around me and focus deeply on my breathing. I can see how this exercise can be useful in everyday life.

  109. I enjoyed the practice. This was much easier than that first time I tried to meditate. This was simple enough that I think I would easily be able to use it with my students.

  110. I enjoy practicing mindfulness and I thought scanning the room to establish safety made a lot of sense.

  111. Thareen Marcello

    The breathe in practice was a challenge to remain focus with the work that i need to accomplish for work. however it i was able to remain focus and after the exercise i felt some how relief which was a great feeling after a long day of work

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