• Lynn Cukaj

Art Therapy Sector: Mindfulness

Updated: Mar 31

Breathing Meditation​ Practice: 5-10 minutes a day​

By Lynn Cukaj, ATR-BC www.CreativeExpressionsConsulting.com

Art Therapy for Children, Teenagers, and Adults


Goal: To expand our awareness by breathing deeply, slowly, and gently while allowing ourselves to take note of the sensations and space around us. This meditation encourages us to pay attention to our breath, body posture, and surroundings and increase awareness of the present moment. The results are a calmer mind and the tools to be able to pause before we react.

Practice


Get into a comfortable position on a chair or on the ground. Pay attention to your posture; get into an upright position. Once you are comfortable, take a deep breath and close your eyes.

Begin to pay attention to your breath.

Notice the the effect of your breath on the rise and fall of your stomach, chest and shoulders. Notice the air that flows in and out of your nostrils.

With every breath, ease any tension in your shoulders, your back, and the muscles in your face.

Notice the sounds from afar, and then slowly notice the sounds that are closer to you. Simply acknowledge them and continue to focus on your breath.

Notice the smells and any other sensations. Label them without judging or questioning them.

Go back to your breath. Take deep breaths through your nose as slow and controlled as possible, and exhale through your mouth as slow and controlled as possible. Count to 3 while inhaling through your nose and then count to 4 while exhaling through your mouth. Pause in between to notice the stillness.

When you are ready, wiggle your fingers and toes, and then slowly open your eyes.


***

Note: It is the nature of the mind to wander and so your thoughts will inevitably move away from your breath. This is ok. When you notice your mind has moved away simply label your thoughts as “thoughts” and then gently bring your attention back to your breath. Let these "thoughts" pass like a cloud in the sky or car on the road. The practice is not in the clearing of your mind, the practice is in the coming back to your breath.

Parents: When practicing with children/teenagers, have them count to themselves the inward and outward breaths. This can be very calming and centering. Try having your child visualize a calming color on the inward breath. A daily meditation practice can help children pause before reacting.


Art Activity: Breathing Beads

Breathing beads are used to guide you with your breath during meditation.


Instructions: Find a piece of rope or ribbon and string through 7 beads. No beads? Cheerios work just fine! Tie the ends of the ribbon to form a loop. As you inhale, counting each of the 7 beads while running your fingers over each one.


For more therapeutic activities and resources on how to incorporate Art Therapy into your life, read more from Lynn's Creative Expressions Blog.


Learn more about Art Therapy and Lynn Cukaj, Board Certified Art Therapist here: www.CreativeExpressionsConsulting.com