Little children and animals to it. They do it so often, so effortlesslsy and so well. They do it when they know they need to. That is, they get still. They stop, lay down and relax. Often it’s only for a brief moment, frequently for a little longer. They both know when their bodies and minds need a rest.
As we evolve into adulthood the frenetic need to ‘do’ negates the need to ‘be’. The whole ‘more is better’ philosophy permeates ALL of our lives, frequently leading to burn out, fatigue and physical illness. It has a direct physiological and psychological impact on what we learn and how much of our learnings we retain.
When working with our students, we commence the learning sessions with some simple grounding and breathing exercises. This does many things to significantly enhance the learning process.
The difference in physiology immediately impacts the psychology. The student moves from often being in a reactive state towards a more receptive learning state. The benefits are obvious, immediate and very powerful. In short, the student’s body/mind is now ready to fully engage in the learning process.
Try it for yourself, or, better still, try it with your children. It’s age-old and it’s not rocket science.
How to Teach Stillness
Tell your child ( and yourself), that you are going to relax. Call it meditation if you will. Sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground. Breathe in s-l-o-w-l-y five times. Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Close your eyes and visualise the task you are about to do having already been done, just the way you like it.
Let’s say you are teaching your child some simple phonics skills like Word Families (a VITAL component of teaching your child early reading skills). Get your child to hold a clear picture of the words in their heads. Perhaps the rhyming blends in the words are in colour. Now, have your child engage in some sensory associations with the task. What colours are they? How are you sitting? How are you holding your pencil? How do you feel when you have written and said all of the words correctly?
When you have finished this simple process then quietly go and complete the task. The quiet, effective energy you have just created will permeate the completed written task.
Go ahead and try it. If nothing else, you have given yourself and your child permission to enhance the learning process with more awareness, stillness and ultimately more effectiveness.