Mindfulness for Parents with speaker Andrea D’Asaro, Academic Interventionist at Cascadia

Blog post by Ivan Fernando Gonzales:

Last month’s workshop on Mindfulness for Parents with Andrea D’Asaro provided great tips to
incorporate mindfulness into my family routine. From breathing exercises that are fun to do, to
calming exercises such as moving like a Maple tree in the wind.

Yes, it may look a little funny when you are impersonating a tree in your living room, or making
superhero sounds at the dinner table. But you can model mindfulness behaviours and then have
the kids eventually imitating you.

As mindfulness practicing parents we can catch ourselves getting agitated in daily life and use
breathing as a tool to avoid getting in a fight-flight mode. When dealing with daily family stresses
we can use body-movement tools to bring a moment of calm into our lives.

Some kids have already learned the “Seahawks Hand” at Cascadia, and maybe showed it to
you. It is very simple: holding an extended left hand in front of you, and then using your right
hand’s index finger to touch the tip of your left hand’s thumb. Then start moving your index
finger down and up, tracking all the fingers of your left hand, alternating breathing in and out.

My favorite breathing exercise is the ”Spider-man breathing”. Simply put your arms
semi-extended in front of you and fold your fingers in front of you as if you were getting ready to
shoot your spiderweb. Breath deeply and start shooting your web while making shooting sounds
(pew pew pew) until you run out of breath, and repeat. You may even shoot spider webs at the
person that is making you feel agitated. I do it just for fun at home.

If you weren’t able to attend last month’s workshop on Mindfulness for Parents, Andrea is
passing on a few tips to bring islands of calm into our busy lives.

1. Including moments of pause: It’s a great practice to pause each morning for 10
mindful breaths. Consider the following tips on including moments of serenity into your
everyday routine. https://hbr.org/2017/11/how-busy-working-parents-can-make-time-for-mindfulness

2. Thursday morning mindfulness group. If you have time to join Andrea online for free
mindfulness, it’s every Thursday morning, 10-11 a.m. Just send her an email
(awakentomindfulness@gmail.com) to receive the zoom link.

3. Soothing family nerves: During the Covid era, most families are suffering higher
stress. Connect with Andrea (see link below) if you want to include fun practices in your
family routine or if your student could use quieting practices for sports, academics, or
performance anxiety. http://www.awakentomindfulness.org/students.html

Quick course for parents. If you’d like to learn simple practices that soothe the nervous
systems and keep us in our higher brains, sign up for Andrea’s upcoming Saturday morning
class at North Seattle College, online.