How to Build Awareness
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Welcome to The Get Ready Project! Many of you may be familiar with Get Ready to Learn, our yoga and mindfulness based curriculum. The Get Ready Project gives us an opportunity to build upon that work, bringing it to folks all over the world. We will continue to offer school-based curriculum and we’ll also offer resources for families and professionals looking for yoga and mindfulness resources at home and work. In addition to the paid content available in the members’ area, we’ll be using our blog to focus on monthly concepts to help build mindfulness, enhance brain-body connections, foster community and help us all feel a bit more ready. This month, we’ll be focusing on awareness.
The Benefits of Awareness
Pay attention… what do you notice? As you quietly sit and tune in, you may become aware of thoughts, feelings, sensations and surroundings that you had not previously noticed.
As we rush through life, taking care of our responsibilities, needs and pastimes, we often neglect the little things that calm our minds, the beauty that can open our hearts, or the kindnesses that can connect us to others. Awareness can lead to appreciation or realization as we notice with increased attention.
Our brains take in information through our senses. We see, hear, taste, smell, feel and move. Our brains and bodies register often unconsciously, as we move through space, tuning in when we bump into someone or something, drop our keys or hear a siren blast. These occurrences shift our awareness to the present moment. Our senses register this incoming information through a personal filter that is impacted by our stress levels, our health, our developmental level, our wiring and our experience.
Some of us are much more attuned, while others seek distractions to keep from noticing. I know students who spend much time in their own worlds because the noise, smells and challenges of this one seem overwhelming.
Awareness is the first step to making positive changes. You need to know where you are when you begin to make plans for where you want to go.
To fine tune our awareness, we begin by developing mindfulness -- which is defined as the maintaining of a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. We notice and become aware without judgement.
How to Practice Awareness
Get quiet for 60 seconds and just notice all that's going on around you. Some of you will notice sensations in your bodies while others will notice things in their environment (e.g. a bird flying by the window or the hum of your air conditioner).
Now take a movement break for 3-5 minutes. Slowly stretch up, bend forward, twist and repeat a few times. Then sit and quietly become aware. Notice if and how this movement break changes your awareness. What was different?
This little activity can help to sharpen your lens of awareness, and can easily be practiced in the classroom or with your family. In what ways do you try to bring awareness to you classroom or home? Share below in the comments!
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