In schools it is increasingly critical to “press pause” to create time and space for reflection and restoration. For educators, the stresses of teaching can lead to compassion fatigue, burnout, and increased anxiety and exhaustion. For students, the pressure is on to perform well academically, participate in extracurricular activities, get high SAT/ACT scores and gain admittance into college. These factors can decrease the joy of teaching and learning as well as increase anxiety, insomnia and a host of other symptoms related to stress. For administrators, the outside pressures of regulations, fund-raising and strategic planning can be overwhelming. Teaching people how to “press pause” builds skills of self-care and self-awareness and, in turn, can amplify everyone's inner and outer voices.
What happens after you hit "the pause" button? The nervous system resets. Blood pressure drops, breathing relaxes, jaws unclench and our “smart brain” comes online. Just as lifting weights builds muscle strength, practicing restorative relaxation helps build our capacity to find calm in chaos. MIND-ED utilizes the foundations of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy ™ (UZIT) designed to calm and focus the nervous system. An Urban Zen Integrative Therapist™ session incorporates complementary healing modalities such as restorative yoga, essential oil therapy, breath awareness and body awareness meditations. This integrative approach is uniquely designed to address the primary symptoms and feelings of the VOWEL MODEL™ (Anxious, Exhaustion, Insomnia, Overwhelmed, Upset and You Need Self-Care.) Practicing “the pause” allows teachers and students to be in the classroom equipped with portable easy skills to handle the pressures of the school environment.
Mindful Movements are empowering and energizing for someone who spends long periods of time at a desk. They also aid circulation, respiration and digestion and can have a positive effect on mood and the ability to focus.
Restorative poses facilitate a deep level of relaxation. Certain poses will help naturally extend exhalation, which helps to calm anxiety. Other positions release tension which, in turn, promotes sleep for those suffering from insomnia. Restorative poses also can enhance circulation and digestion and foster healthy respiration.
Breath has its own associated experiences and awareness. By paying attention to our breathing, we can help identify our connection to our experiences and negative emotions like anger, fear, grief, depression, impatience and boredom as well as positive feelings such as love, compassion, kindness and wonder. Breath awareness practices train us to watch the breath as it is, notice when we become distracted, and gently return to watching the breath. This builds the muscle of concentration and attention.
BODY AWARENESS MEDITATION
Using simple, clear, specific words, Body Awareness Meditations are a relaxing way to reboot the nervous system by bringing our attention into the body. Studies have shown that these meditation practices offer the nervous system a deeper rest than if individuals are asleep because there can be considerable mental activity while sleeping. In a basic Body Awareness Meditation, we start at the head or feet and move in an organized way through the body.
ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY
Urban Zen Integrative Therapists™ are trained in the safe use of essential oils. Therapeutic grade essential oils are provided on cotton pads to individuals in order to promote relaxation, relieve stress and reduce exhaustion and anxiety, and minimize overwhelming or upsetting feelings. Smelling essential oils can facilitate the opportunity for awareness of the present moment by engaging the sense of smell.