Dynamic Mindfulness is an evidence-based, trauma-informed stress resilience program. The key elements are mindful movement, breathing practices, and centering practices.
Developed by the Niroga Institute in 2005, Dynamic Mindfulness has been embraced by educators and health professionals across the country. It integrates what we call the Mindful ABCs: Action, Breathing, and Centering into a powerful intervention that can be implemented in the classroom or clinic in 5-minute to 20-minute sessions, three to five times a week.
The purpose of teaching Dynamic Mindfulness in schools is to provide students with ways to manage their stress, to find a sense of safety in their own bodies, and to take positive action to change their emotional and mental states.
Dynamic Mindfulness covers the five core competencies of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL):
The ABCs of Dynamic Mindfulness
Students come to school with day-to-day stress from their environment, chronic stress, and even traumatic and post-traumatic stress. How can we expect our students to learn without first helping them to manage their stress?
The centuries-old techniques of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation are known to reduce tension, relax and focus the mind, and energize the body – remember the ABC’s: Action, Breathing, Centering. Dynamic Mindfulness works by incorporating these three components in unison: moving with full attention on the present experience while using the breath to calm the nervous system.
Why is it important?
Chronic stress disrupts prefrontal cortical processing which impacts the executive functioning of our brain – this is the part of our brain that deals with thought process, decision making, personality expression and social behavior.
When we are stressed, our ability to pay attention, regulate emotions, adaptively cope, and experience empathy are negatively impacted. Neuroscience shows that mindfulness practices mitigate those very same effects. The research of Tangney, Baumeister et al (2004) found that emotion regulation affects academic potential, psychopathology, substance abuse, binge eating, interpersonal relationships and more. Dynamic Mindfulness can have a dramatic impact on all of the above issues.
When students practice Dynamic Mindfulness regularly, they begin to see changes in the way that they feel and act even without consciously trying. They do not just memorize ways to have better stress management, self-awareness, self-regulation, and healthy relationships—they change their ability and behavior from the inside out.
This change in behavior improves classroom climate by empowering not only the students, but also educators. Students learn that they have power and choice when it comes to how they react to their external and internal world. Dynamic Mindfulness empowers educators with the tools to be able to regularly create a positive environment and act mindfully rather than react to student choices.
These lessons from Units 1 and 2 of our Curriculum are comprehensive guides to help you facilitate Dynamic Mindfulness. Each lesson defines the topic and provides you with a narrative script that walks you through the entire practice. You can read directly from the script or follow along with the video.