Arts & Mindfulness

Self-Care Resources: Finding Strength, Resiliency, and the Ability to Flourish

We all encounter challenges in an uncertain world. Each one of us is unique, with distinctly different brains and bodies, developed in diverse environments; accordingly, the challenges we each face, and our solutions to them, are as infinitely individual as we are. This infinite individuality qualifies us to be our own best caregivers. Self-care is to intentionally take time to tend to our personal well-being; as we practice self-care, we find strength, resiliency, and the ability to flourish in the face of our unique challenges. As dance educators, we are aware that the art of dance is more than mere…

Forest Bathing: Being Outside, Mindfully

The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku is gaining traction across Western cultures. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Forest bathing, or soaking in the atmosphere of nature through our senses, is a restorative habit. As the arts connect the dots of a shared human experience, the practice of joining with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch also acts as a bridge between people and the natural world. As COVID-19 continues to spread globally and the weather gets colder, finding time or space for just being in nature can prove a challenge. But there’s no such…

Bridging the Gap: Mindful Arts Inspiration from Across the Globe

“The earth is what we all have in common.” -Wendell BerryUsing the arts in our daily walk bridges the gap across the things that separate us: time, distance, and privilege. Cultures across the world offer unique ways to daily and mindfully engage in making connections with one another and with our environment through the arts. Here, we discover how a small handful of global artists use found materials in mindful ways that reflect their environment, culture, and life experience. Create a few minutes of space in your day to consider how viewing these artworks affects you. Find effective questioning strategies…

Including the Arts in Classroom Rituals

Rituals are an important part of building a physically and emotionally safe classroom environment. Arts activities can be used as rituals to help students and teachers feel connected as a classroom community. Rituals are used to greet students, say goodbye, honor student work, establish procedures, organize materials, and transition between activities and the arts can help. For example, meditation with music serves to invite focus and calm, a tableaux engages interest, and a braindance can release physical energy.  Rituals create emotional continuity. A rhythmic call-and-response game between the teacher and class members can help students regulate their internal chronometer and…

Ariel Hortin demonstrates the Martha Graham contraction.

Therapeutic Dance and Dance Movement Therapy

Dance as therapy and dance in therapy: Ariel Hortin explains the unique benefits of dance movement therapy as a tool for improving self-awareness, developing the mind-body connection, and giving voice to feelings and experiences that aren’t easily articulated.

Full Body Feelings: A Movement Activity to Support Emotional Intelligence In a Masked Classroom

The BYU ARTS Partnership promotes the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of the arts to impact student learning, well-being, and relationships in the classroom. We honor the work of certified/licensed arts therapists and do not promote that educators act as therapists. The following article was written by Ariel Hortin, a dance educator and mom of three from Vineyard, Utah. She is currently studying to become a Movement/Dance Therapist and Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Lesley University and is an adjunct professor in the BYU Dance Department. Ariel strives to be a catalyst for joy and facilitator for change through…

Using Visual Art to Express What Can’t be Spoken

“The singular focus of drawing and meditating, in the quiet of my home, cultivated a connection with something intuitive and creative that surpassed the physical realm of bodily sensations.” –Lisa KatharinaTrauma and its ripple effects affect everyone, teachers and students alike. Dr. Francine Shapiro is a pioneering therapist who defines trauma as “any event that has a lasting negative effect on the self.” Though our experiences differ, often the feelings and “lasting negative effects” housed in the body are similar. Often, the impact of traumatic events are felt so deeply that the experience is entirely beyond words.  Engaging in visual…

Mindfulness through Music

Throughout the recent months of uncertainty and change, children and adults alike are experiencing a wide range of emotions. Some of these emotions may be causing stress, anxiety, or even depression. Trying the following mindfulness activities will focus your attention, help you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, and create a healthy space for big emotions. These activities are designed for adults, and children can join in, too! Activity 1: Focus Your Attention Find a comfortable place to sit, or stretch out on the floor. Click on one of the links below or choose a song from this Spotify…

Movement and Mindfulness

We often envision a mindful practice or meditation exercises as a still and static experience, but that is not always the case. Mindfulness is the state of being conscious. Thus, becoming aware of our movements can be a part of our practice making movement a method for mindfulness and a tool for meditation.  In a meditation practice, we bring attention to our breath. Breath is the core of movement. When we focus on our breath, we are focusing on the movement of oxygen into and out of our body. We recognize the expansion of our diaphragm and lungs and the…

Recruiting the Body for Mindfulness Practices

When I was growing up, my family had a 14-foot Sunfish sailboat. It was a perfect size for a pair of teenagers to lift off the roof of the car and carry to the water’s edge for an afternoon on a local reservoir. The single triangular sail made it easy to tack across the lake and back. What kept us upright was the daggerboard, a four foot by 18-inch board placed into a center slot on the deck of the small boat which extended into the water as a ventral fin to provide balance and stability when the sail caught…

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