Getting Ready for Mindfulness Practice: Part 3
This blog aims to share some knowledge and advice on setting up mindfulness practice. It is important that the tips and knowledge are tailored to meet the needs of the students and facilitator. If you have any questions and/or want to know more please let me know by commenting in the comment box. Happy reading.
Getting Ready For Practice
The first instruction will often relate to posture. Place both feet on the floor and your back upright if you are able to. This enables us to do the opposite of relaxation because we want to remind the body that we want it to be alert and alive.
Ask students to keep their eyes open. Explain that the function of mindfulness is to help us in our day to day life so practicing with eyes open will help to generalise practice into daily life. Advise them to find a place for their eyes to rest that might not be too distracting, perhaps a spot on the floor.
If students want to close their eyes they can but encourage them to work towards keeping their eyes open in future practices.
Indicate the start and end of practice: This can be done in a variety of ways such as using singing bowls, bells, charms, raising your hand at the start and end.
Duration of Practice
Mindfulness practices can be anything from one minute long to a number of hours. In my experience it is easier to begin with shorter practices. It is also important that some individuals may have very intense experiences in their internal world and therefore in these cases it is wise to keep the practises very short.
Give Clear Instructions
Before starting the mindfulness practice there are some key points to get across. This is a well-used script you could use.
“We are going to do a mindfulness practice. During this exercise I will guide you to focus on a particular item or experience. As you are following the instructions your mind is likely to wander to other things. This is perfectly normal. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently return it to the task. Do this as many times as you need to. When you do this, you are being mindful.”
- Do not conduct the mindfulness practice in a ‘therapist voice’. You might have the urge to soften your tone, slow your voice down and become more melodic. Unfortunately these changes give the impression that it is time to relax. Make a conscious effort to retain a normal tone of voice.
- Conduct mindfulness practice in ‘normal’ conditions. This will make it easier for students to generalise the skill into everyday life.
The content of this blog has drawn upon the Mindfulness principles established within Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, a therapy that I am trained in. The guidance and examples within this blog have been put together from the following resources:
Dunkely, C. & Stanton, M. 2014. Teaching clients to use mindfulness skills. Routledge: Sussex.
Rathus, J. & Miller, A. 2015. DBT skills manual for adolescents. Guildford: New York.
About The Author
Dr Asha Patel (founder of Innovating Minds CIC) is a registered Clinical Psychologist with a post graduate diploma and over 10 years of clinical experience in various settings which include community, inpatient psychiatric rehabilitation, secure forensic mental health hospitals and within the education sector.
She is passionate about providing accessible psychological support for individuals in education, training and employment.
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