At Teach Starter, we’re all about promoting teachers’ health and wellbeing. In today’s episode, Jessica from Teaching with Soul will lead you through a guided meditation to help you relax, unwind, and refocus. Jess is a Life Coach and Primary Teacher on a mission to support educators to cultivate mindful, calm and balanced lives. You can find her at https://www.jessicademunck.com/
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Guided Meditation for Teachers – Body Scan – Full Episode Transcript
Bron: Welcome, teachers! At Teach Starter we’re all about promoting teachers’ health and wellbeing. In today’s episode, Jessica from Teaching with Soul will lead you through a guided meditation to help you relax, unwind and refocus. Jess is a life coach and primary teacher on a mission to support educators, to cultivate mindful, calm and balanced lives. You can find her at JessicaDemunck.com Check the show notes for details.
Why Meditation is Important for Teachers
Jessica: Hello, to all of the teachers joining. I am so, so excited that you’re joining me for our first meditation. So just to introduce myself, my name is Jess. I am a full-time primary teacher, so I’m a year 3 teacher. But I’m also a wellness coach for teachers. So I support teachers to prioritise their wellbeing and elevate their confidence, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and also just to thrive as their most authentic selves and bring that attention back to them because so often as teachers we’re serving and supporting others, and we forget about ourselves. So like Melissa said, thank you so much for joining me tonight and for really taking this time out to honour yourself and support yourself because we don’t do it often enough. So yeah, the purpose of tonight is just to really slow down because we are so, so busy.
I know myself, I rushed home from work for this and we just don’t listen to our bodies enough when they’re sending us messages, we soldier on. And so for that reason, I’ve chosen to do a body scan meditation tonight so that we can really get in touch with our bodies, slow down, relax, take some deep breaths. And meditation really helps me to slow down. For this meditation, all abilities are welcome. So if you’re a seasoned pro, a seasoned meditator, and this is for you, you’re going to find just as much value, as if it’s your first time. So if it’s your first time meditating, do not worry. This is going to be super easy. I’ll run you through all of it. Meditation is not about clearing our minds of thought whatsoever. That is absolutely impossible. And so that’s not what I’m asking you to do.
Teachers: What do You Need to Release?
We’re just going to slow it down a little bit. I pulled a little card for us tonight. And the card said, what do you need to release? So what I want you to focus on today is any tension in your muscles. Anything that you’re carrying with you in your mind that you can just let go of. So give yourself permission, allow yourself to just surrender for the next half an hour. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders anymore. You don’t have to serve anyone. You just get to focus on you and relax and prioritise rest and releasing. So maybe set an intention about some sort of pain or tension that you want to release from your body tonight. Maybe something that you’re carrying with you like a thought or a story or a limiting belief that you really want to let go of and release. And let’s set that intention and let’s allow that to happen tonight. So what I’d like you to do first is just really tune in to how you’re feeling beforehand. Before we start, maybe you’ll feel that
Quiet, stressed, and anxious. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you’re going through your to-do list because it’s report season and there’s lots of things to do, whatever it is, tune into that feeling. And then just know that it’s okay to release that. It’s time to release that. So just affirm that to yourself. So finding a comfy position, nobody is watching me, as Melissa said you may choose to lie down if that’s more comfortable, that’s totally fine. You may choose to be sitting up in a chair. cross-legged like I am. If you do decide to do that, a pillow is really helpful. Just to support your back. You may also like to just have your feet on the floor. If you’re sitting in a chair, whatever works for you, and that may change throughout the meditation, you may feel more comfortable in another position, feel free to change, whatever works best.
Mindful Breathing for Teachers
So once you’ve found your comfortable position, we’re going to start by taking five deep breaths. But each time we take these deep breaths, we’re going to try and elongate the breath. So when we’re breathing in, I want you to really visualise and feel your belly expanding. So often we take quick, shallow breaths, especially throughout a teaching day. And we’re not really expanding, we’re contracting as we breathe. So you might like to put your hands on your belly or one hand on your belly, so you can really feel that expansion.
So when we breathe in for the first time, we’re going to breathe in for three seconds and breathe out for four, and we’re going to make it go longer every time. So this is the point where you might like to close down your eyes. I might may not close down my eyes. Um, but you can, nobody’s watching you. So getting really comfortable, maybe your back sits up a bit straighter, shoulders down and back, neck backwards, not reaching out like we sometimes do. And just making sure there’s no tension in your jaw. You don’t need to clench. I know how to hold a lot of tension there and just make sure you’re not, you know, furrowing your brow as well. Okay. So we’re going to breathe in for three and exhale for four breathing in feeling the belly expand.
And for, for this time in for four and out of five.
In for four, again. Out for five. In in four, out for six this time you can do it.
Last one, same again in for four. And, out for six, beautiful.
You may already feel the feeling that tension releasing. So what I’d like you to do now, while your eyes may still be closed and you’re just letting your breath return to a natural rhythm is to choose a colour that represents calmness to you. So maybe that’s a, white colour, maybe that’s a really calming blue or maybe a gold colour, something that represents calm. So the first colour that comes to your mind is fine. You don’t need to think too deeply about it. And then I want you to visualise that colour as a warm light, right underneath your feet below your feet. So this’ll be different. You’ll visualise it differently, whether you’re lying down or whether you’re sitting up, don’t forget about your breathing, slowing it down and visualising that warm light in whichever colour you chose just below your feet.
So what we’re going to do very slowly and very, very intentionally is move that light over our whole body and scan our body. Now, when we’re moving that light and visualising it, I don’t want you to run and go through any stories that pop up. If you hit parts of your body that are holding tension. So you don’t need to go into why it’s feeling that way or what you can do to help it, or kind of get down on yourself. We’re just going to allow the light to move over any parts of our body that it’s going to move over. And then trust that that tension will eventually release and pass through just like energy.
Okay? So you’ve chosen that colour. What I want you to do is visualise that calm colour, that calm light, moving over and up and enveloping your left toes. One by one and slowly breathing as you do that.
Body Scan Meditation for Teachers
Then I want you to visualise the light, moving up over your feet, around your whole left foot, your left ankle, visualising the warm light, moving up your left shin and around the back of your calf. Breathing slowly as you visualise over the front and the back of your left knee.
The, the front and back of your left hip slowly moving up, really tuning into each part of the body, feeling that visualising that warm light, moving over your left hip, slowly moving up the left side of your body.
Then, your waist, then left side of your chest. Don’t forget about that breath, deep breaths in and out catching that warm light in the colour of your choice, moving over your left shoulder.
And slowly moving down your left, over your upper over your elbow, down your forearms, palm, and the back of your hand and each finger on the left hand. One by one, you might be really tuned into the left side of your body. Now, beautiful taking a deep breath in before we move up the right side And long, deep breath out.
Okay. And now we’re going to start on the right side of our body. So super slowly, and just as intentionally, not going into any of the stories that pop up, if you get taken away by a thought, don’t worry. Just bring yourself back. Imagine it like a cloud passing by in the sky. We don’t need to attach to it. We just bring ourselves back to the present moment when we realise that we’ve done it. Okay. Keeping those eyes closed. We’re going to visualise that warm calming lot in the colour of your choice, moving up and over all of your right toes, one by one, over your right foot underneath and over the top.
Your right ankle.
Slowly, moving up your calf, shin, over your knee caps, it’s a really warm nourishing light. Over your right thigh. The back in the front tuning into that part of your body, as it moves deep breaths, as you go visualising that lot, moving over your right hip. Up slowly over the right side of your body and your waist, through the right side of your chest, front and back. And as it makes its way up to your shoulder or your right shoulder, taking another deep breath. Just allowing it to pass over, allowing it to release any tension as it goes most over your right shoulder, down the right over the right elbow, down the right forearm, slowly over your hand and to each of your fingers from your pinky, all the way to your thumb.
You might be feeling really calm and super relaxed in your body. And now we’re going to focus on our throat and neck area, imagining the light, clearing out any tension that you have in your throat, and scratchy throat. Imagine that coloured light, moving up over your neck, enveloping your jaw.
Up over your cheeks and cheekbones, up over your ears, slowly moving up over your eyes and then your forehead until it fully envelops the crown of your head. That’s taking a deep breath together as we visualise that lot enveloping our entire body now.
Yeah, beautiful. So noticing every feeling, really being mindful and checking in, we’re not attaching, we’re just feeling it and letting it pass before we finish this visualisation and our body scan. I want you to really affirm, love and trust for your body.
We’re going to go from bottom to top, just like we did before. So as teachers, we so often soldier on when we’re sick, when we have ailments when we’re tense, but it’s so important to really tune into our body and let it be a messenger. So as we affirm that love and trust, we might say things inwardly. You don’t need to say them out loud, but say things like thank you to my feet for keeping me stable and grounded. Thank you to my legs for holding me up all day. And for allowing me to do this incredible job that I’m so grateful to do. So just really inwardly, or you might like to say it out loud, if you’re alone, thanking and trusting and affirming that love to each of the parts of your body, that you just visualised.
Your arms, your torso, maybe your stomach, your teacher, bladder, your heart, affirming love and trust, trustful, and thanking it for all it does for you. Thanking your eyes and your ears and your mind.
Yeah. Beautiful. And we’re going to take five deep breaths to finish. So you might like to place that hand over your belly again, and we’re going to inhale and the belly is going to expand. So we’re going to do four in and then five seconds out. Let’s do that together.
Four second, inhale,
Five seconds out.
Again four second inhale, and out.
This time four in six out.
Four in six out again, belly expands.
And this time the deepest breath you’ve taken all day, we’re going to let it all out four in seven out this time. And seven deepest, biggest exhale that all out.
Beautiful at the start of this meditation, you considered how you were feeling, and you tuned into that feeling. I want you to tune in again now and compare maybe at the start you were feeling quite tense and now you’re feeling really open, or maybe at the start of this meditation, you were feeling overwhelmed and now you’re feeling quite mindful and present just really tune into that and what I’d love. And I’m sure the team at Teach Starter would love is if you could share that with us on Instagram or on social media, how you felt beforehand and how you felt after that would be amazing.
Maybe you could take a photo of your setup. We would absolutely love that. So what I’m going to do now is share with you some ways that you can use this technique, this body scan technique as a teacher and in your personal life, but also with your students, because this is something that you can take away with you.
How to Use the Body Scan Meditation for Teachers in Daily Practice
And it’s not something that just needs to be a once-off that we do. Now, it can really support you in the long run. So you could use this body scan technique, first thing in the morning, instead of reaching for your phone straight away, or going straight to emails just before you even open your eyes, scanning over your body, to really tune into how it’s feeling that morning, you can also do it whilst you’re on duty. So you might like to do it so that you can bring more mindfulness and presence into your day. It may be interrupted slightly from supporting students. But that’s a really great time to do it. Another would be during your DOTT time so that you can really bring slowness back to your breath and then invite more productivity and focus. So it seems really counter-intuitive to spend part of your sacred DOTT time engaging in a practice like this, but I’ve found that if I do it at the start of my DOTT, I’m less overwhelmed and I’ve got less things on my mind, so I can focus more and I’m really, really productive.
Another way is to use it as a transition technique from school to home. So I don’t know about you, but I would don’t want to bring the chaotic energy of school into my home life. So what I like to do is choose activities to transition from school, to home. So when you get home from school, you might like to do a quick body scan and slow down your breath so that you can really be conscious of the energy that you’re bringing into your home life. And the last way that you can use it as a teacher and in your personal life is use it in bed each night to really calm yourself down and let your body know that it’s time for rest. So you can imagine that warm light in the colour that you chose, or even a different colour as an energetic blanket, that’s kind of tucking you in.
And when it makes its way to its head to your head, it’s time to sleep. So I like to use that a lot when I’m finding it tricky to get to sleep. So that might be really helpful for you if that’s something that you struggle with as well.
Using the Body Scan Guided Meditation with Your Students
So now a few tips in how you can use it with your students. So you might like to use a body scan technique to begin the day to help students to tune into how they’re feeling. So if students have had a bad morning or something’s happened at home, or maybe they haven’t had breakfast, and they’re a little bit off, if you use this technique at the start of the day, you’re going to understand how your students are feeling you’re going to tune in and then you can support them better, and it may help to alleviate any behaviour management or pastoral care issues that you need to address later in the day.
You might also like to teach it to your students as a coping strategy for when they’re feeling a little out of control. So your school might use the Zones of Regulations yeah exercise or technique. So that can be if they hit the yellow or the red zone, then that can be something that a tool that they can use in a technique that they can use to support them. You could also use it in your classroom after break times. So after recess and lunch, when the kids are maybe very hot or they’ve overexerted themselves, or they’re very excited to find with their friends, just to bring them back and to support them, to calm themselves down and be ready for learning again. And you could also sneakily use that as a time to bring that calm for yourself as well.
So it’s a win-win. So they’re my tips to try and bring that technique into your day for yourself first, but then also for your students. So looking after your wellbeing is just so, so important as a teacher. So I just really, really want to celebrate you and honour you for showing up in this way, because not enough teachers do it. And if they did, I believe when teachers are thriving, we create thriving communities. And so thank you all for choosing to thrive for yourself so that you can create that ripple effect with your communities.
If you feel like you’d like some support to really prioritise your wellbeing, to elevate your confidence, to ditch the burnout that teachers commonly feel at this time of the year, and to truly thrive in place, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I do one-on-one coaching with teachers. I also host workshops and I run online courses for teachers to support them with their wellbeing. And I currently have two coaching spots open, to work with me for three months one-on-one so please don’t hesitate to reach out for me if you’d like more support in this area and to have a cheerleader who knows exactly what you’re going through, because I’m going through the exact same thing. Thank you so much. I’m so grateful. And thank you to Teach Starter.
Bron: Thanks for joining us today for this guided meditation with Jessica Demunck. Our student-facing podcast, Love Learning, has guided meditations for your students. So search Love Learning on your podcast app or visit Teachstarter.com/podcasts to get your kids meditating.