The Nexus of Mindfulness & Restorative Practices: A Session with Dr. Lori Lynass

Dr. Lori Lynass, with her profound expertise spanning over a quarter-century in supporting students, families, and schools, recently presented a captivating session elucidating the integration of mindfulness and yoga into restorative practices. Drawing upon her vast experiences, including her association with over 1,500 schools and insights from her roles as a special education teacher, research scientist, and executive director, Dr. Lynass took the audience on an enlightening journey into the heart of restorative circles.

The Power of Mindfulness in Restorative Circles

In her presentation, which mirrored a similar video she had crafted for the IIRP world conference, Dr. Lynass expounded on the immense potential that lies in harnessing basic mindfulness techniques to magnify the impact of restorative circles.

Beginning with an understanding of mindfulness, she explained its essence as a tool that encourages individuals to remain present, fully immersing themselves in the moment. This immersion, when integrated into restorative circles, fosters an environment where participants can deeply engage, listen, and share, creating a space that’s more receptive and nurturing.

Yoga: An Embodiment of Restoration

Taking the conversation a notch higher, Dr. Lynass introduced the concept of yoga as a physical manifestation of the principles underlying restorative practices. Yoga, with its emphasis on breath, alignment, and presence, mirrors the foundational tenets of restorative justice: healing, reconciliation, and community. By weaving in yoga postures and breathing techniques at the beginning and end of restorative circles, Dr. Lynass suggested that participants could become more attuned to themselves and those around them, breaking barriers and fostering genuine connections.

A Guided Journey

The session was not merely theoretical. Dr. Lynass, in her characteristic engaging style, walked the participants through the process of melding these mindfulness and yoga strategies within circles. The audience experienced firsthand the profound shift in energy and focus as they were guided through breathing exercises, simple yoga postures, and mindful reflections.

Highlighting their versatility, Dr. Lynass emphasized that these strategies could be seamlessly integrated into various stages of circle practices, from their initiation (or “hatching”) to their continued growth and evolution.

The Future of Restorative Practices

Dr. Lynass’s session was a clarion call to educators, counselors, and restorative justice practitioners to expand their toolkit. By amalgamating the ancient wisdom of mindfulness and yoga with contemporary restorative practices, she showcased a path where participants could dive deeper, engage more authentically, and ultimately, heal more profoundly.

Her presentation, infused with her vast experience and genuine passion for holistic well-being, left the audience inspired and equipped with tangible strategies to enhance their restorative circles. As the realm of restorative practices continues to evolve, champions like Dr. Lori Lynass underscore the importance of blending tradition with innovation, ensuring that the journey towards healing and reconciliation is as holistic as possible.