Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mindfulness and Happiness: Quotations for Reflection and Discussion

photostock for

Does mindfulness lead to happiness?  And what do we mean by 'happiness,' anyway?  Here are a variety of perspectives on appreciating the present moment, letting go of attachments, embracing moderation, and finding meaning.

Scroll to the bottom of the post for questions that can be used for personal reflection or as prompts for discussion and writing.

Book titles link to Amazon, just in case you'd like to know more about the sources of these quotes. receives no financial benefit from books ordered through links from this site.

Appreciating the Present Moment

Mary Oliver, "Sometimes," from Red Bird:
"Instructions for Living a Life: 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it."

Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April:
"The simple happiness of complete harmony with her surroundings, the happiness that asks for nothing, that just accepts, just breathes, just is."

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Children's Book Helps Kids Cope with and Grow from Failure (interview)

photo courtesy Tamara Levitt
Tamara Levitt is an author, producer, speaker, and mindfulness educator based in Toronto, Canada. She works as Head of Content at Calm, the mindfulness meditation app, and is also founder of Begin Within Productions, where she produces mindfulness based multi-media content. Ms. Levitt is the author of Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands, a children’s book that explores the themes of acceptance, resilience, and self-compassion and offers the message that just because we may experience a failure does not mean that we are a failure. 

You wrote Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands as a counterpoint to the classic children’s book The Little Engine That Could, which emphasizes that success requires hard work and determination. How do the two books complement each other?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sign Language Resources on Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

explained in BSL by Rebecca Withey

I've heard from several teachers that they've had trouble finding sign-language resources on mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.  Here's a list of resources you might find useful; most of them were suggested by the d/Deaf and sign-proficient contributors to last week's post on Tips for Including Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga Classes.  

International Resources

Directory of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Yoga Instructors in Australia, Denmark, Germany, the US, and the UK.

Australian Sign Language (Auslan) 

Hatha Yoga Accessible DVD:  The above video is a trailer for a DVD using visual yogic poses taught by qualified Deaf instructor Karli Dettman, in Auslan with English captions.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tips for Including Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga Classes

photo courtesy Karli Dettman

Are you a non-signing hearing teacher who'd like to be more inclusive of d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in your classes? Read on for advice on being respectful of Deaf culture, communicating with and without an interpreter, and special considerations for meditation and yoga classes.

This was a collaborative effort from a group of Deaf and hearing teachers and counselors with a commitment to sharing best practices in teaching d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

9 Tips for Effective, Compassionate School Leadership

Principal Katie Yezzi Greets a Scholar
photo courtesy Troy Preparatory Charter School

The following is a guest post by Katie Yezzi, Founding Principal and Senior Principal of Troy Preparatory Charter School in Troy, New York, part of the Uncommon Schools network of urban public charter schools. Troy Prep currently has an elementary school and a middle school; a high school is scheduled to launch in fall 2017.

I’ve worked in schools for nearly my entire career of over 20 years. The reason I got into it, and the main reason I come back to it each day and each year is that I find the learning process to be bordering on miraculous, and I love kids. I think that’s why I ultimately have come to found the school that I have – a “no excuses” charter school where compassion and love for kids is the driving force. I want our students to know they are loved, and to know that we show our love through hugs and smiles, but also through challenging math problems.

Our student population consists of approximately 63% African American, 15% Hispanic, and 15% Caucasian students. The majority of our students' parents did not attend university. The majority also live below the poverty line.

While my love can’t make their life challenges and struggles go away, giving them a safe space and moments where they can be quiet, calm and mindful can help them learn how to keep those difficulties from being obstacles.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mindfulness in Schools: Research-Based Support for Teacher Training

photo courtesy Autumn Theodore Photography

The following is a guest post by Brandi Lust of Learning Lab Consulting.

Looking to bring mindfulness to your school? In today’s data-based world, the research used to support the practice is your best tool and ally. As a mindfulness teacher who frequently works in the field of education, I rely on the most up-to-date research to educate school systems with whom I work and to advocate for the importance of what I do.

Unlike many other “strategies,” the process of classroom implementation is very much about teaching with your being. This is not a quick fix. When the adult in the room is transformed, the classroom climate changes, too. This is the ultimate goal: not to introduce mindfulness as a strategy-based intervention, but instead to change the overall climate, tone, and quality of interaction so that it is more conducive to the health and wholeness of teacher and student.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Teacher-Recommended Mindfulness Books

I feature as many resources as I can about mindfulness and complementary practices, as well as a mindful approach to teaching and to working with youth.  There's such an overwhelming number of books being published these days that I can't possibly keep up, so I decided to reach out to friends and colleagues and ask for recommendations.  Many thanks to everyone who shared your favorites! 

The following books are all 'mindful teacher-tested' by educators and counselors who've used them personally or with their students and clients.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jungle Yoga Adventure for Kids

Double Cobra pose
photo courtesy Sara Weis

The following is a guest post by Sara Weis, adapted from her book Go Go Yoga for Kids.

Introducing kids to yoga doesn’t have to be a crazy and wild adventure. By following these fun jungle-related yoga poses and games, kids will have a great time exploring the jungle while they also get fit, flexible and focused.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Go Go Yoga for Kids (recommended book)

If you're interested in yoga and mindful movement for children and teens, check out Go Go Yoga For Kids by Sara J. Weis, an elementary school teacher and certified yoga instructor. 

The activities are kid-tested for fun and safety, and there's also advice on how to professionally teach yoga to children, as well as tips for parents and classroom teachers on incorporating mindfulness and yoga into kids' daily routines.   

Go Go Yoga For Kids clearly explains how to teach different ages of kids (3-6; 7-11; and tweens and teens):

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is Mindfulness? Quotations for Reflection and Discussion

namakuki for

What do we mean by 'mindfulness'?  Here are a variety of perspectives on mindfulness meditation, informal mindfulness practice, and nonjudgmental awareness.

Scroll to the bottom of the post for questions that can be used for personal reflection or as prompts for discussion and writing.

The Meaning of Mindfulness

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are:
“Paying attention, in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
“Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but mindfulness is called by many names: attentiveness, nowness, and presence are just a few. Essentially, mindfulness means wakefulness—fully present wakefulness... paying attention to all the details of your life... The object or focus of mindfulness can be anything that brings us back to right where we are. If we’re out walking, the object of meditation could be the motion of our legs and feet. If we’re washing dishes, it could be our hands. We can bring mindfulness to anything—opening a door, washing our hair, making the bed.”