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

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

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

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

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 


CASEL is transforming American education through social and emotional learning.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defined SEL more than two decades ago. Today, they collaborate with leading experts and support districts, schools, and states nationwide to drive research, guide practice, and inform policy.

CASEL Cares – SEL Resources During COVID-19.

Ivy ChildCASEL

Mindfulness and Racial Justice with Craig Martin

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

Craig is a 2018 National Distinguished Principal and Massachusetts Elementary Principal of the Year and 2009 Boston Public Schools’ Educator of the Year, currently serves as the Executive Director of Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury, MA.

In six years as Proud Principal of the Michael J. Perkins School, with strategic professional development, partnerships, and investments in socio-emotional learning, culturally responsive pedagogy, trauma-informed practices, mindfulness, 21st Century technology skills development, blended learning, and social media presence, the Michael J. Perkins’ School student achievement has improved over 320% leading to reversals in achievement gaps among English Language Learners and Latino American Learners, a 50% reduction in suspensions, a 25% decline in chronic absenteeism all while being named a 2019 Semi-Finalist for the Edvestors’ School on the Move Prize.

Resources From Session: – Dr. Brene Brown Video
Ivy ChildMindfulness and Racial Justice with Craig Martin

5 Steps to Bring You Back to Center

This workshop will focus on 5 Steps to Bring You Back to Center. 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.

The workshop was led by Maya Breuer and Kiesha Battles.

Maya has almost 3 decades of experience and has been a trailblazer in making mindfulness and yoga more inclusive and accessible for people of color. Kiesha is a Yoga Trainer and Self-Care Charlotte North Carolina Ambassador. She promotes self-care for the purpose of nurturing healthy lives and relationships for individuals, families, and communities.


Ivy Child5 Steps to Bring You Back to Center