Resources

#SeasonOfGiving: OUR TOP 5 FREE MINDFULNESS RESOURCES

At IvyChild International, we have always believed in sharing resources and tools to help people along on their own mindfulness journey. These resources are always aimed at providing practitioners of mindfulness, both novice and veteran, some useful aids and insights that enhance and deepen their practice.

And now, as the holiday season is upon us, we’re taking the #SeasonOfGiving further with a roundup of the top 5 of our most popular and important mindfulness resources. These range from tools to help you center yourself to understanding how mindfulness could help children unlock their potential; from ways to cultivate mental health in the midst of the global pandemic to striving for racial justice with the help of mindfulness

So here’s the list of our Top 5 Free Mindfulness Resources:


Videos from Healing Retreat for People of Color

We begin with one of our most crucial resources for our times; video sessions of the unique Healing Retreat for People of Color(HRPOC). 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color and the environment of racial and social injustices further compromises the health and wellbeing of many people of color. As a result, HRPOC has been developed to provide holistic, metaphysical practices and lifestyle tools to reduce the negative impact of the unique challenges that all people of color face. 

This retreat teaches that the ancient practices of yoga, meditation, breathwork and mindfulness are invaluable as contemporary life support tools. The inherent substance, meaning viability and sturdiness that lies within these practices are essential and necessary for health and wellbeing for People of Color and other highly impacted groups.

Here are the free videos from the Retreat. If you find the free sessions helpful, you can register for the upcoming monthly series of HRPOC and even consider making a donation to help us keep it going.

HRPOC #1 – The Benefits of Yogic Breathing | Sara Clark

HRPOC #2 – Ayurveda and Nutrition | Angela (Dharma) Fears

HRPOC #3 – Exploring Our Relationship With Our Emotions | Peter Weng

5 Steps to bring you back to center (part of Mindfulness for Parents Teachers and Caregivers)

One of the biggest challenges faced by parents and caregivers is to be able to maintain a state of equilibrium. This workshop, led by Maya Breuer and Kiesha Battles, will focus on 5 Steps to Bring You Back to Center.

In this video resource, participants will explore various wellness tools and techniques to revitalize and reconnect to their center and find the balance they need to renew and serve others. Tools and techniques include Breath-Work, Meditation, Self-Compassion, Movement and Creativity.

Unlocking Children’s Potential Through Mindfulness

Rose Felix Cratsley, Ivy Child International’s CEO & Founder talking about mindfulness in children at TEDxFitchburgStateU.

At Ivy Child International, it is our mission to enhance the social and emotional well-being of children while embracing their multicultural needs using positive psychology and education as a uniting force to inspire resilience and leadership.

Mindfulness equips children with simple practices to work directly with managing their central nervous system, helping them regulate, manage emotional states and focus attention. To understand more of how mindfulness can work for children, you can check out our quick guide to mindfulness for kids.

Cultivating Mental Well-Being Through the COVID-19 Crisis (part of Mindfulness for Parents Teachers and Caregivers)

This resource is yet another from our Mindfulness for Parents Teachers and Caregivers series. 

In this video by Peter Weng, CEO, Healthy Minds Innovations(HMI) and a highly regarded practitioner and beloved leader in the field of mindfulness, we learn about compassion practices, access to a free mindfulness app and resources that are shared to develop a personal practice in mindfulness to help navigate this unprecedented time.

Mindfulness and Racial Justice with Craig Martin

We seek accountability for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the innumerable Black lives lost due to the horrific systems of oppression that are prevalent in our world today. As we stand in solidarity and work to create spaces for healing for all, we wish to contribute by sharing the importance of building more spaces for real conversations together that result in action.

Abundant thanks to our wonderful friend and community partner Craig Martin for offering a heartful conversation on Mindfulness and Racial Justice.

Ivy Child Team#SeasonOfGiving: OUR TOP 5 FREE MINDFULNESS RESOURCES
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HOW GRATITUDE AND MINDFULNESS CAN HELP YOU HEAL

The traditional ritual of Thanksgiving; families gathered together to offer thanks for all the gifts, protection, warmth and joy in our lives; a truly special experience. Sharing of gratitude not only makes for beautiful opportunities that bring us closer, but aids in improving mental health, according to recent research.

WHAT DOES GRATITUDE MEAN?

While we all understand gratitude as the act of giving thanks or the emotion of feeling appreciation, to understand its psychological impact, we turn to Robert Emmons and Robin Stern for a deeper psychological definition:

“gratitude has a dual meaning: a worldly one and a transcendent one. In its worldly sense, gratitude is a feeling that occurs in interpersonal exchanges when one person acknowledges receiving a valuable benefit from another. Gratitude is a cognitive-affective state that is typically associated with the perception that one has received a personal benefit that was not intentionally sought after, deserved, or earned but rather because of the good intentions of another person” (Emmons & Stern, 2013).

Growing research shows that gratitude and the practice of being mindful and grateful is a powerful tool to heal and bolster our psychological immune system.

THE GIFTS OF GRATITUDE

We have always known the warmth we experience from expressing our appreciation for others. Research shows ways to harness that emotion to achieve better mental health.

So here are some of the benefits of practicing gratitude:

  1. Gratitude frees us from toxic emotions Studies have shown that practicing gratitude shifts our attention away from negative emotions, such as resentment and envy.
  2. Stress and pain relief. Researchers have observed gratitude light up areas of the brain closely linked to the brain’s “mu opioid” networks, which are activated during close interpersonal touch and relief from pain networks.
  3. It can help beat depression. Researcher Prathik Kini and colleagues at Indiana University observed how practicing gratitude can alter brain function in depressed individuals. It is hypothesized that the practice of gratitude may even be able to change neural pathways and re-wire the brain.
  4. It’s a tonic. Gratitude is being seen to impact general well being. Scientific studies suggest that gratitude can improve your sleep, enhance your romantic relationships, protect you from illness, motivate you to exercise, and boost your happiness, among many other benefits.

So let this Thanksgiving not just be a day to give thanks for the things you appreciate, but also a start of practicing gratitude for a better you.
Here’s Young Peace Leaders Cultivating Gratitude:

Ivy Child TeamHOW GRATITUDE AND MINDFULNESS CAN HELP YOU HEAL
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Thanksgiving & Safe Haven Meditation

100 Days of Growing Gratitude Ivy Child International Inner City Mindfulness Program-Claremont Academy, Worcester Public Schools Worcester, Massachusetts USA

I invite you into a sacred, safe and loving space together
Enjoying each breath as you breathe in and out
In through your nose and out through your mouth
Allow the motion of your mind to rest on the motion of your breath.

Allow yourself to anchor into a peaceful stance
and allow your body to feel what it is,
adjust yourselves to what feels comfortable and right for you in this moment
Give yourselves the permission to take a time in instead of a time out
honor the ground and earth that supports us and holds us each step that we take

Acknowledging, honoring and embracing this moment

Gently bring your awareness to your breath…as we breathe in and out, Breathe in peace and breathe out discomfort, pain and suffering.
Let’s anchor ourselves in our breath
Allowing a space to hold in our hearts all that we are thankful for
The gift of breath
The gift of the earth to support us

Next allow a shield of safety and sacred protection around you.
This can be in the form of an object or person near or dear or someone you perhaps never met, someone who is on this earth or no longer here. Someone’s arms in which you feel the safest or a certain place that you feel the safest. Welcome that safety, that security, that solace we all need.
Welcome the feeling of being seen, soothed, secure, and safe.

Embrace this unconditional love, acceptance, and care
Allow this warm and beautifully resonant compassion to soak in

Share your gratitude and thanks to this person for offering their love, care and devotion to you, as you open your heart and mind

And awaken your heart in this moment with your beloved community

And just allow your heart to hold those dear near and far in this precious moment

Let go of anything you may need to in order to fully give and receive all that we can to our loved ones and our world.

Enjoying each deep breath as we breathe in and out

Breathing through each moment and taking each step
with grace, courage and strength

Ivy Child TeamThanksgiving & Safe Haven Meditation
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World Mental Health Day 2020

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, instituted by the World Health Organization, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world.

This year, the day coincides with a highly challenged global scenario impacting intergenerational mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the planet has led to an increase in human suffering across our world and given rise to one of the worst mental health crises in recorded history.

While most of humanity faces the same harsh realities of disease, financial distress and fear, the underserved have experienced the worst brunt of the fallout from the pandemic. Racial and social injustices further serve to compromise the health and wellbeing of many people of color.

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of color, with higher levels of illness and death. Compounded with racial and social  injustices, further serves to compromise the health and wellbeing of many people of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and intensified these pre-existing realities and increased the vulnerability of these populations.

As a result, people of color are experiencing a greater mental health fallout from the pandemic. This mental health impact and ongoing racial inequity reinforce the urgency to provide pathways of psychological healing for people of color.

In celebration of World Mental Health Day, Ivy Child International would like to go beyond just raising awareness about the importance of our mental health. We are happy to share a free video resource specifically created to bolster the psychological wellbeing of people of color.

The Healing Retreat for People of Color™ (HRPOC) has been created to provide ancient healing practices that support the lives of people of color, during the many challenges we are all facing.

The HRPOC has been developed to provide holistic, metaphysical practices and lifestyle tools to reduce the negative impact of the unique challenges that all people of color face. This retreat will teach that the ancient practices of yoga, meditation, breathwork and mindfulness are invaluable as contemporary life support tools. The inherent substance, meaning viability and sturdiness that lies within these practices are essential and necessary for health and wellbeing for People of Color and other highly impacted groups.

This program will be conducted free of cost every first Sunday of the month beginning January 2021, we share these video recordings of the 2020 program sessions to allow access and opportunity to engage and benefit from our past sessions, while also gaining a sense of what is to come through these sessions from our Healing Retreat for People of Color.

HRPOC #1 – The Benefits of Yogic Breathing | Sara Clark

HRPOC #2 – Ayurveda and Nutrition | Angela (Dharma) Fears

HRPOC #3 – Exploring Our Relationship With Our Emotions | Peter Weng

Ivy Child TeamWorld Mental Health Day 2020
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Sun Breaths

Sun Breaths is a dynamic warm-up sequence that focuses on the flow of arms with the breath. The breathing pattern (inhalation-hold-exhalation-hold) guides the movement of the arms that acts as a tool to bring more awareness to the body and breath.

Ivy ChildSun Breaths
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Tree of Contemplative Practices

On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices. The roots of the tree encompass and transcend differences in the religious traditions from which many of the practices originated, and allow room for the inclusion of new practices that are being created in secular contexts.

The branches represent different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices may come in many different forms but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings, such as thoughts of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. (Please note that such classifications are not definitive, and many practices could be included in more than one category.)

 

Access the PDF version here.

Ivy ChildTree of Contemplative Practices
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Mindful Practice Group

Starting a Mindful Practice Group by Meena Srinivasan

A GREAT WAY to support your practice is to start a mindful practice group at your school. You could meet once a week either before or after school, or if that’s too much, start with meeting once or twice a month. Perhaps you can use your classroom or talk with an administrator about using a common space to meet. Even though this space should be confidential so all participants feel safe express- ing themselves, I suggest forming various practice groups to suit people’s needs. For example, there could be a group for the entire school community or one just for teachers or just for parents. I had an experience where some of my teaching colleagues felt that if there were administrators or parents in the group, they would not feel comfortable or safe that the group would honor how they truly felt. So it’s important to create safe spaces in which individuals feel they can express themselves without being afraid of being criticized later.

Access the full PDF version here.

Written by Meena Srinivasan.

 

Ivy ChildMindful Practice Group
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Welcoming/Inclusion Activities 

Welcoming Inclusion Activities are brief, interactive experiences that bring the
voice of every participant into the room, making a connection to one another
and/or to the work ahead, with each perspective-laden, culturally-rich voice being
heard, respected and learned from. The more we fully share ourselves and are fully
received and understood by others, the stronger and safer our learning
environments become. Growing knowledge of and appreciation for our groups help
ensure that we will provide opportunities to welcome people in the ways they need
and want to be included.

Psychologist Barbara Fiese explains that routines are a way of communicating “this
is what needs to be done,” while rituals symbolically communicate the idea that
“this is who we are” as a group, providing continuity in meaning across time.

Access the full PDF version here.

 

Ivy ChildWelcoming/Inclusion Activities 
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