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Growing Minds at Hawley Environmental School

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Susan Lubar-Solveng has been trying to manage the clutter in her mind for a long time. Through yoga, she discovered the concept of mindfulness. Using breathing techniques and relaxation exercises, Susan was able to focus on specific tasks while dealing with every day distractions. 

Susan says, "That's when it became clear." She wanted to pass this "mindfulness" onto others. Susan started the Non-Profit Growing Minds three years ago. She spends 20 minutes a day, twice a week, teaching "mindful learning" exercises to grade school students at Hawley Environmental School.

Each class starts with ringing of chimes. The students are led through a series of breathing exercises and are asked to focus on their emotions. By using their own hands as a focal point, Susan is able to walk some of the extra antsy students through an exercise that results in a calmer body, a calmer state of mind. 

Once the students have found a bit of inner piece, they are asked to feel and share what emotions they are experiencing. Week by week, the lessons change, but the goal is always the same: for students to recognize and understand their emotions so they are no longer a distraction. As each session ends, Susan asks the kids to open up their journal and document their feelings. 

Susan hopes that through these mindfulness classes, students learn how to focus so they can be ready to learn and work with others.