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Key words: health, fitness, wellbeing, emotional health, mindfulness, yoga, resilience

The purpose of this lesson plan is to allow students to explore the content of the Stress Less Yoga video by contemplating the way in which physical activity can enhance health-related fitness and wellbeing across our lifespan. Students will also consider the impact of physical and emotional health on one’s wellbeing and explore the idea that mindfulness and the practice of yoga may promote the development of personal resilience.

Class grouping: Whole Class, Group, Individual
Time: 60 minutes

If any students are deaf or have hearing difficulties check out this alternate video series created by Lisa Mills who hosts Australian & International Deaf Yoga Retreats & Workshops.


Teacher Instructions


Activity: Mind the Object

 

Preparation and Materials:
  • A ‘natural object’ for each group of students. For example, a leaf, a flower, a dead insect, an acorn etc.
  • Access to the internet
  • Comfortable clothing for students (if possible)
  • Yoga mats or space on the floor for each students to sit/stretch comfortably
  • Timer (optional)
Process

PART 1 Set the mood

Before watching Rosie’s ‘Stress Less Yoga’ video, set the mood in your classroom by playing some relaxation music for your class. There are lots of options to choose from online (a quick search for ‘meditation music’ on YouTube will provide you with about 14,400,000’ results!).

PART 2 Break into groups

As the music is playing, arrange students into groups of four as quietly as possible and let them know they are about to undertake an activity that will require them to be still, silent and calm.

Once students are in groups and sitting silently, gently place one of the natural objects you have sourced into the middle of each table. Students are not to touch the object for now, but only to look at it.

PART 3 Object Contemplation

Once all objects are distributed, set a timer for two minutes and calmly read the following instructions to students one at a time, spaced over 30 second intervals:

  • Without touching the object on your table, focus on watching it intently for two minutes.
  • Don’t touch the object. Don’t do anything except take notice of its visual appearance. Try to relax and concentrate on looking at it.
  • Try to look at the object as if you are seeing it for the first time, and imagine that you have to describe the object to someone who cannot see it.
  • Look at every aspect of the object, and try to concentrate all of your attention on it. What stands out to you? What have you noticed that you might not have before?

Once the two minutes are up, ask one student from each group to talk about something interesting they noticed about their object.

PART 4 What is mindfulness?

Write the term ‘mindfulness’ on the board and ask students if they know what it means, and have a brief discussion about the term.

Inform students that the activity they have just undertaken was intended to highlight the process of mindfulness, which is a practice that focuses on bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, and is strongly correlated with greater well-being and perceived health.

PART 4 Discuss Mindfulness

Ask students the following questions:

  • What benefits might ‘bringing one’s attention to the present moment’ have? How is it different to using your phone when you have a spare moment? Why might it be ‘better’ for you?
  • How might mindfulness help to create resilience in young people?
  • How did it feel to sit quietly for two minutes? Why was it easy/difficult?

PART 5 Mindfulness + Yoga

Explain to students that the mindfulness activity they have just undertaken was to prepare them for a form of exercise that also encourages mindfulness, particularly with regard to one’s body: yoga.

Ask students to find a comfortable place for themselves on the floor, before screening ‘Stress Less Yoga Session with Rosie’ (10:05). Allow students time to relax and debrief after watching the video.

Extension Activity: Relaxation playlist

Step 1. Ask students to reflect on the music you played at the beginning of the class, and the music that was playing during the yoga video. Did they find it relaxing? Annoying? Boring? Have a quick discussion as a class.

Step 2. Ask students to think about the sort of music they find relaxing. Have them create a three-song ‘relaxation’ playlist with a brief explanation of why they have chosen each song. If time allows, ask students to play one of their songs to the class and to read their explanation for its inclusion on their list.


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