Mindful Teachers and Teaching

SUPA has partnered with Emily Luther from Mama Mouse Healing Arts to develop relaxation and mindful teaching techniques for teachers as they navigate teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Syracuse University Project Advance has developed a series of teacher-focused meditations and mental health-related resources to help teachers manage their own mental and physical health amid the many professional challenges affecting them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

These resources, which can be used piecemeal or as a whole “seminar,” offer a framework for understanding and implementing philosophies and techniques drawn from common meditation and mindfulness practices. These techniques are currently being implemented in some schools under a “social emotional learning” curriculum as a response to the pandemic, so it is our hope that these tools may help address the needs of teachers alongside their students, complimenting a given school’s existent student-focused social-emotional learning curricula.


This meditation was recorded for our WRT 105 Project Advance teachers and presented at our Fall Seminar in December 2020. For this we gathered over Zoom to discuss our experiences with hybrid learning, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impacts to our curriculum.  This meditation suggests that teachers should trust their intuition amid the pressures of the day.  

Meditation on Water (audio) and Mediation on Sound and Color (audio)

These meditations come from yoga methodologies.  They utilize natural elements and unify the senses, helping the user to engage the subtle body in order to calm the nervous system.  Teachers can introduce these methods to their students if they wish to, but more importantly, they are general enough that once a person learns these methods, they can be used anytime, anywhere with or without the recordings.  They can be used occasionally or routinely to manage stress.  

Meditation on Water (with music): Mediation on Water (no music):



Mediation on Sound and Color (with music): Mediation on Sound and Color (no music):

Meditation Link

Peace In Schools offers mindfulness meditations for teens and educators in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. They range in length from 6-30 minutes. 

Yoga Sequences for Teachers

These sequences have been curated for our SUPA instructors in response to surveys and interviews with Project Advance instructors between August 2020 and December 2021 which measured stress and responses to hybrid learning.  The sequences target areas of the body which may be bound up with stuck energy, or which can be stimulated to generate creativity, stress-relief, and feelings of power and courage.  Prior knowledge of yoga will be helpful; however, beginners can safely attempt Yin poses with lots of pillows and a gentle approach.  

Lacey Haynes: 3 Yin Poses for Letting Go   (gentle)  

Liz Gill: Using the Warrior Poses to Let Go  (intermediate) 

Stephanie Snyder: Navel Chakra Tune Up Practice  (advanced)  

Breathing for Teachers and Students 

Alternate Nostril Breathing is an excellent way to start a class or set the tone after a class.  A thorough and reliable explanation of the process, benefits, and guidelines can be found from the Shrimad RichandrMission Dharampur.  For our purposes, this may be a more advanced practice you choose to adopt for five minutes at the beginning of each class. You can ask your students to mute their cameras and participate as they wish, setting the tone for a focused class. Students should be encouraged to give up five minutes of their busy day to quiet their minds and breathe, no matter what.  If anyone experiences anxiety, dizziness, or faint feelings, they should participate by listening and breathing slowly for five minutes.  Alternate nostril breathing is very helpful because it requires coordination and concentration, so it is difficult for the mind to wander during this practice.  

Kira Willey at TED Lehigh River2 2018: Bite-Sized Mindfulness: An Easy Way for Kids to be Happy and Healthy   

Kira Willey is an international expert in mindfulness practices for children.  Her point in this TED Talk is salient and timely: regular practice of 1-2 mindfulness exercises will have an enormous impact on stress and regulation.  Using 1-2 minute breathing exercises with your SUPA students is a small but attainable goal. Willey’s book for little ones is browsable on Amazon, but resources such as Mindfulness CardsJust Breathe by Malika Chopra, or Therefore I Learn (which offers free mindfulness cards!) include short exercises that are appropriate for young adults.  If you use any of these resources, adapt them as necessary to meet the 1-2 minute goal.


The following apps provide free, bite-sized meditations, breathing exercises, classes, and regular “check ins.   

  • Insight Timer offers live teachings, guided meditations, a useful timer to help you shape your regular meditation goalsCalm and Headspace offer similar modalities but are subscription services; educators may be able to get a free account by contacting the developers.  
  • Atmosphere offers binaural and isochronic sound healing frequencies. Using headphones, users listen for 10-15 minutes for an effective reset to the nervous system.  


Into Light Peaceful Schools 

Julian Treasure at TED Global 2011: 5 Ways to Listen Better 

By now, if you are teaching online, you know that video meetings require a different level of listening and attention than we are used to in-person.  Treasure’s methodologies here may give you pause and help you to slow down a bit. This would also be appropriate to share with your students as a way of addressing committed participation during virtual meetings.  

Cathy Davidson : Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Businesses for the 21st Century 

This book addresses the junction of old models of education and our current crisis. Davidson is a scholar to follow as we navigate new models of learning.

Additional Resources

Tools for the Classroom

Just Breathe Malika Chopra

Care to learn a bit more, or get more involved? Some organizations offer professional development, lessons, free courses, and stress relief for teachers and teens.  

About Emily

Emily Workman Luther is a part-time faculty member at Syracuse University specializing in writing, rhetoric, professional communication, digital learning, and mindfulness.  She is an enthusiastic Project Advance faculty visitor and former SUPA studentEmily owns Mama Mouse Healing Arts, a business offering yoga and Sanskrit studies for families and educators.  She has extensive teaching experience both inperson and online with all kinds of different populations and age groups If you are interested in more of her offerings for teachers, please visiTeaching in the Present. 

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