July 29, 2019
by Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Mindful Movement

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to experience mindful movement and explain the benefits of mindful movement.

(10 minutes)
  • Bring the class to an outdoor area where they can join into a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Explain that today they will be exploring mindful movement, which means purposefully bringing kind and curious attention to the present moment while moving.
  • Write "mindful movement benefits" on a small whiteboard.
  • Ask the students, "What do you think the benefits of moving with mindfulness (with awareness, attention, and kindness) are?"
  • Take 2–3 answers.
  • Tell them that they will first experience mindful movement to see if their guesses are correct.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite students to become as still as they can while standing.
  • Ask them to take a few full and deep breaths into their bellies.
  • Guide them to close their eyes or lower their gaze, and to place their hands on their bellies.
  • Invite them to breathe normally and notice their belly gently lifting and lowering.
  • Model and ask them to slowly lift their right foot.
  • Ask them to feel their foot as it lifts, their knee as it bends, and all the muscles moving.
  • Explain to the class that in their mind, they can say to themselves, "Lifting," as they move their foot.
  • Guide them to slowly lower their foot (pause), then to place their foot back down.
  • While doing this, tell them that they can say, "Lowering...placing," in their mind.
  • Explain to the class that as we move, sometimes we are thinking of the place we are trying to get to. Practicing mindful movement requires a level of control over our bodies, and it can be great for managing impulses.
  • Tell them that with mindful walking and movement, we are becoming aware of the journey, not the destination. We are feeling our body as we move in the present moment.
  • Ask students to now walk in silence with this kind attention, and to hold their attention in the feeling in their feet, moving slow.
  • Walk in a clockwise direction around the circle.
  • Ask students to keep their eyes lowered to help them feel their feet as they move.
  • Remind them that they could say the movements in their mind.
  • Have them walk for three minutes.
  • Afterwards, ask them to pause and return to face the center of the circle.
  • Ask, "What do you notice? How do you feel?"
(15 minutes)
  • Ask the class, "Do you think we can practice mindfulness while moving faster?"
  • Tell them that they will practice moving faster, but still while using mindful movement.
  • Have them start to jog in place.
  • Ask them to feel their strong belly, their knees lifting, and their feet as they are placed gently on the ground.
  • Ask them to continue to feel into their feet in the present moment, as they jog.
  • Guide them to jog in silence in a counter-clockwise circle using mindfulness of movement for 1-2 minutes.
  • As they jog, invite students to slowly say in their mind, "I am here," to remind them of the present moment.
  • Ring the chime, and ask them to pause.
  • Guide them to notice their feet firm on the ground.
  • Ask them to take a deep breath and lift their arms, and to exhale and lower their arms. Repeat this a couple more times.
  • Have them come back to stillness.
  • Ask the class what they notice and how they feel.
  • Tell students to find a partner.
  • Pass out whiteboards and markers.
  • Tell the partners to discuss and write their answers/reflections to the following question on their whiteboard: What are benefits of mindful movement?
  • Ring the chime. and ask partners to turn back in towards the center of the circle.
(25 minutes)
  • Have partners share what they discussed and wrote with the whole class. Guide them to build on each others' thoughts as they share out.
  • Ask, "How can mindful movement help us? What are the benefits?"
  • Write students' thoughts about the benefits of mindful movement on the board.
  • Build upon their answers, and emphasize that mindful movement can reduce injuries, help us move more efficiently and joyfully, and make us more attentive to what is happening in the present moment.
  • Pass out the Mindful Movement Skit worksheet, and review it with the class.
  • Have them work in pairs to complete the worksheet.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to prepare to lead the class in a mindful movement session at a later date.

Support: Pair more advanced students with struggling students for extra support on the worksheet.

(5 minutes)
  • While students work in pairs to complete the Mindful Movement Skit worksheet, connect with them to check their understanding of the benefits of mindful movement.
(15 minutes)
  • Bring the class back together in a circle.
  • Ask, "What did you notice? How was your experience creating the skit together?"
  • Invite students to come up and share their skits.
  • Ask them where they can practice mindful movement and how it may help them.

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