LOCAL Houston | The City Guide April 2017 - Page 52

2017 MINDFULNESS CLASSES AT THE HEALTH MUSEUM Mindfulness is learning to pay attention to the present moment with an openness, curiosity and kindness. Over the last 25 years, mindfulness prac- tices have been studied widely in America and shown to reduce stress, lessen suffering from anxiety, depression and physical pain, boost the immune system, improve our sense of well-being and actually change the structure and function of the brain. Come join Dr. Ann Friedman, a psychologist and certified mindfulness instructor, to learn more about mindfulness. You’ll learn how to focus your attention and let go of stressful thoughts and emotions – and will learn a specific way of paying attention to your breath, body, thoughts, feelings and to the world around you. The way of paying attention is powerful because when you can observe your thoughts and feelings, then you can choose how you act. You can also learn how to bring relaxation to your body when you are feeling stress and anxiety. Classes available: • April 18–May 23 (Tuesday evenings, 6:15-7:30pm) • April 20 –May 25 (Thursday mornings 8:30-9:45am) • Special series focusing on cultivation practices: April 18-May 23 (Tuesdays, 8:30am–9:30am) Cost: $225 Members | $250 Non-members www.thehealthmuseum.org denise kai students, students with documented behavior issues and special needs students all work together in the Health and Wellness lessons. What does the art of mindfulness mean to you both and how do you practice it daily in your own lives? Many of our trained teachers hope to continue sharing what they learned at staff meetings and district-level professional developments. Houston ISD administrators were very supportive of the Breathe, Move, Rest program and the respective health benefits for staff and students alike. We are open to developing new partnerships in the Greater Houston area. Mindfulness means to pay attention to what is happening as it is happen- ing. It’s something that we work on throughout the day, every day. Denise: One reason we practice mindful exercises like Tai Chi and Yoga daily is so that we can form healthy habits, like getting up early, keeping a clean home and listening to one another. Kai, you also teach mindfulness at Whittier Elementary, correct? Kai: Yes, I teach mindful practice K through 5, making sure to address the needs of individual students and the campus. Special needs students, including those in our autism program, receive mindfulness lessons on a regular basis. I also add martial movements to enrich the mindfulness curriculum to show them mindfulness can be relevant in a variety of kinetic activities, like Kung Fu. I even making pop culture references to “Kung Fu Panda,” “Avatar – The Last Airbender,” “Naruto” and Super Heroes to help engage my students. 52 L O C AL | april 17 Kai: A daily mindfulness practice includes focusing on small tasks as they are being done, like making food, eating or making coffee. For me, interacting with students, in both a school setting and at local studios, helps me build a mindfulness practice within a community. We are all interconnected, so actively listening as a teacher and student, helps me better understand what is happening around me.