Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Activating Your Senses | Main | A Beginner’s Mindset »

November 09, 2020

Promote Awareness Through a Body Scan

By Lark Keeler

As a shift happens in the weather this month, I too feel a shift in my body.  Checking in with a body scan can help unlock stiff areas and energize our muscles in the cooler weather.  Here is a simple way to do a body scan, promoting wellness, relaxation, comfort, and awareness during the last days of the fall season.

- Take a moment to settle into a space. Be comfortable, yet alert.  You may sit or lay down.  Wiggle into the chair or surface until your body feels like it has accepted gravity and feels balanced.

- Begin with your feet, feel the soles, and wiggle your toes. Notice any feelings of discomfort and release any tension you may find. 

- Move up through each area of the ankles, lower legs, knees, and thighs. Notice any feelings of discomfort.  Release tension and feel relaxation moving slowly up your body.

- Move into your abdomen and chest, to your back and shoulders. Pause in each area and notice.  Take a moment and let wandering thoughts go, coming back to focus solely on each area.  Feel your abdomen rise and fall with each breath in its own comfortable rhythm.  Feel tension melting away as you focus on your breathing.

- Focus your energy and attention slowly down each section of your arm and into your wrists and hands. Pause for a moment of gratitude, considering all of the work and art your hands have made in this world.

- Revisit your shoulders and neck. Notice any feelings of tension and release the muscles. 

- Move up into your face, relaxing all of the muscles. Feel your eyes suspended and relaxed.  Try and release even your scalp, feeling a washing over your body of calmness and balanced energy.

- Take three cleansing and full deep breaths. Slowly open your eyes and return to the moment and space you are in.

Finding brief moments throughout our week to take a purposeful pause, recalibrate our breathing, and connect to our bodies in loving and gentle ways can help us move through our challenges as educators with more grace and ease.  I encourage you to build this simple exercise into your weekly routine, especially during these cooler months and unusual times at school, as it can also help you slide into a peaceful sleep after a long day.

-LK

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