Discover What Works For You
Guided Breathing Space
This particular area of the Mindfulness Room is quietly located around the corner in the back left side of the room. Adorned with soft lighting, a water feature, and some tranquil nature murals, this area is a place for individuals to deepen and broaden their mindfulness "practice". Whether one chooses to have a staff person lead a Guided Breathing Exercise, or to use one of our links from our "Guided Breathing" page, or to simply sit and breathe while observing the murals, this is a space designed for less active mindfulness practice. If one chooses to do a Mindful Breathing practice on their own, they can take a sheet from the "Mindful Breathing Instruction" folder in the literature rack at the front of the room and that will help guide the basic structure of a seated practice. This space also can serve for "Progressive Relaxation" practice, "Body Scans", or even some light, "Restorative Yoga/Mindful Movement" routines.
Located towards the back half of the room, this station utilizes photocards, "Mindfulness Glitter Jars", and good ol' fashioned pennies. Settling into a mindful posture and taking some breaths which allow you to "arrive", choose one the three options (photo, jar, or pennies) and use the sense of sight to fully ingest the details of what you are holding. If it is a photo, consider identifying ALL of the colors present in the card as well as shapes which may also be present. As is the case with all mindfulness based activities, it isn't about "getting it right" but about slowing the pace down, and simply drawing your awareness closer by using your 5 senses in "THIS" moment. If you choose to observe the glitter jar, notice first that when the glitter is resting at the bottom of the jar, it is easier to see through the liquid in the jar. This is similar to the idea of when our emotions are settled, we can see things in our life more clearly. Then shake the jar so that the glitter is swirling and observe the colors and the way they shimmer and swirl in the jar. This is now similar to the idea of when our emotions are unsettled, or triggered, that it is more challenging to see things clearly. If you choose to observe the pennies, remove them from the cup and randomly one of the pennies to look at more closely. Take note of the year, any markings, or other details and then put this penny back into the cup with the others. Then dump the pennies back out of the cup and see if you can find the penny that you observed, based upon the specific things you noticed earlier.
The Present Palette
This station, located to your right when you first enter the Mindfulness Room, provides direct feedback with the concept of equanimity (or mental calmness). Equanimity can be challenging when the mind and body are under duress and many of us have formed the habit of reacting to our situations; if we sit with our experience, with equanimity, our thoughts and emotions can begin to self-resolve, thus allowing us to respond instead. As with other stations in the Mindfulness Room, find a posture that allows you to be upright yet relaxed and following a few breaths from beginning to end, arrive in the moment and board in front of you. The "Present Pallette" is a special board sitting atop a water tray with a brush with which you will "paint". Grasping the brush, bring your awareness to the feel of the brush (straightness, smoothness, etc.) and to the details of your grasp (number of fingers used to grab the brush and any tension you might be holding in your grip). Dipping the brush into the water tray, begin to provide brush strokes across the board in any manner you see fit; taking note of any thoughts or judgments that may arise. What you will notice is each brush stroke produces black lines/arcs that will intensify within the first few seconds the water contacts the board; all the while continue to breathe gently and deeply. Similar to an intense emotion or thought that eventually lessens, the passing of some time (in this case a few minutes) allows the brush strokes to begin to lighten as the water dries from the board.
We encourage you to take a page from the "Mindful Coloring" folder in the literature rack before sitting in your chair. Then, gathering yourself into your mindful position, and settling in, use your sense of sight, sound, and touch to begin coloring. Do you notice any thoughts about whether you choose a marker versus a colored pencil? Bringing your awareness to your fingers, what do you notice? What tension is present? Is your grip loose or tight? How many fingers do you use to hold the marker or pencil? Observing the colors as they saturate the page, what do you see? How different or same do the images appear? Are there any judgments you may possess if you color outside the lines? Or choose a color because "that other color" will look "bad"?
Kinetic Sand & Thinking Putty
Sitting in a mindful posture and taking a couple of "settling breaths", gently shift to some relaxed and soft breathing for a minute before engaging with the sand or putty. Choosing either the putty or sand trays, notice how they feel. Using your sense of sight, touch, or sound, bring your awareness to any tension you may be holding in your hands and fingers as your manipulate them, notice the colors and shapes; noticing the feeling of the different sand molds in your hands, and the feeling of pressing them down into the sand. Notice the sound coming from the sound machines; what does that feel like to hear that? What does it feel like pinching the sand between your fingers? If using the putty, bring your awareness to any sense of fatigue you may encounter as you squeeze and pull the putty. What do you notice about the texture the more you use it? What do you see as you maneuver the putty in your hand?