What's in Your Mindful Toolbox? A Pause/PAWS

05/28/2015 08:49 am ET | Updated May 27, 2016


Exhilarating and exhausting, classroom teaching is a daily adventure. Each moment is filled with an eternal mixture of instruction, learning and emotion. Times that by the number of children in the room and well, there is always a lot going on.

As the year comes to a close the swirl of things to finish can be intense. Big feelings abound from a great sense of relief that the school year will end to nervousness about the impending transition. Sustaining attention and momentum during this time can be a challenge. Monitoring this whirling mass can support your well-being and help deliver you, with some ease, to the other side; when you walk out of the school building for the summer.

Intentionally schedule a few short breaks or pauses in your day. This break time set aside for a mindful practice will help you bring your awareness to the foreground and shift the frenzy to the background. This space that you create will help relieve stress and recharge your attention and perhaps equip you with a new calm energy to continue with the work at hand. You can practice this pause for a few seconds to a couple of minutes.

Continue reading for some easy pointers to get your practice pause started.

Pause with PAWS


PAWS Guidelines

  • Choose a practice that suits the situation.
  • Practice is subtle, only you know that you are bringing awareness to the moment.
  • Eyes can be open or closed.

Read the list below and choose three practices to try right now.
This will help you figure out which PAWS resonate for you.


  • Sense the belly rising and falling
  • Notice sensations at your nostrils
  • Sense the path and/or visualize, your inhale to exhale, exhale to inhale


  • Sitting: Feel the weight of your body touching the base or back of the chair
  • Standing: Micro-bend your knees and apply gentle pressure to the feet
  • Fingers: Gently tap each pad against a surface like a table, chair or your own body
  • Walking: Sense the soles of your feet in your shoes or feet on the ground
  • Scan the body, slowly, for sensation


  • Eyes: Resting at eye level, gently scan the room
  • Sounds: Listen to sounds close to you, in the next room, or outside
  • Heart/mind- Remember a small joyful moment or gently focus on something you feel grateful for

Put PAWS in your toolbox.

Choose the time/times during your day to practice.
Set a timer as a reminder or use a transition to signal the practice time.
Set a timer for the amount of time you want to practice.

Let me know how it goes.

Next step, identify a moment outside of your scheduled practice times to PAWS.

Mindful Classroom offers workshops and retreats for children, adults and educators.

Practice PAWS and other mindful awareness techniques for adults and children and learn how to integrate mindfulness practices into the daily life of the classroom with What's In Your Mindful Toolbox? A Weekend Mindfulness Retreat and Training for Educators at the Garrison Institute, July 10-12.

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