In my legal communication and analysis course, every class begins with a mindfulness moment. Law professors and law students hear about the need to have mindfulness, but we’re not quite there with teaching it. I am committed to making sure that at least my section of students will walk away with a better concept for mindfulness and some techniques.
Class 1: Boxed Breathing
Boxed breathing is nothing new. We’ve used it in music education, many sports, and the military for ages. The concept is very simple – visualize a box. Trace up on the left side while breathing in, hold for two seconds at the corner, exhale across, hold for two seconds at the corner, trace down while breathing in, hold for two seconds at the corner, and trace across while exhaling, hold at the first corner, repeat. The number of counts per side and the pauses may vary. Tempo may vary, but generally, it’s best to use a walking tempo or about 60 beats per minute.
It’s easy for cynical students to dismiss these sorts of exercises as silly, but give it a shot, and you’ll get it. When we are mindful of our own breath, we can learn a lot about our state of mind and change that state of mind if we take a moment to breathe deliberately and calmly.
Here’s an example: