AUSTIN (KXAN) — Third-grade teacher Kristina Yoder smiles out at her students — and, really, the world — as she speaks softly and positively about mindfulness, guiding those watching the videos on her YouTube channel to think through how they’re doing.
“For our guided meditation today, you’re going to walk through how to sort of examine some negative, uncomfortable feelings and move those into a more comfortable, happy place of well-being,” she said in one recent video.
Yoder has practiced mindfulness exercises with her students at Mills Elementary School in Austin for years, coupled with the district’s Social-Emotional curriculum to help students increase their self-awareness and understand their feelings.
“When we pause within our day, even for just a couple minutes, and kind of focus on our breathing and check in with ourselves, it creates a space inside of us so that things that are happening around us in our environment or internal environment are not going to feel as big,” she said.
Once she realized students wouldn’t be coming back to campus because of the coronavirus pandemic, she started her YouTube channel, “Mindfulness with Mrs. Yoder.”
“They need to understand what they’re feeling and to be reassured that it will pass, so a lot of these exercises and tools that I provide in my videos allow for kids to just check in with themselves, know what they’re feeling is OK and know that it will pass and also kind of create a space so they can go about their day safely,” she said.
She also encourages parents to practice mindfulness as well, in the middle of the stress of juggling jobs and family.