Mind in a Jar

Feb 15, 2016, Sonya Patel

The “Mind in a Jar” activity is a simple way to help your student’s imagine their mind and thoughts. The jar represents the head/skull, the clear liquid is the brain and the glitter pieces are thoughts, ideas, memories and feelings.

A jar with glitter resting on the bottom represents a mind that is calm and focused. When the jar is shaken up, the glitter starts swirling quickly, and it becomes difficult to see clearly. This is like the mind when there are too many thoughts and feelings making it difficult to think clearly.

Setting the jar down, taking slow deep breathes and watching the swirling glitter settle, helps to refocus, calm and clear the mind. If you haven’t seen how the activity works, check it out in our ZENworks Yoga  video collection.

Want to make one of your own?

We’ve asked Joie Scott, co-founder of amaZEN U to share her recipe for making the “Mind a in Jar” used in the video. Here is the script she read when working with her students.

What you need: 

  • Clear jar with a tight fitting lid
  • Clear glue
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Optional: glue gun


  1. Fill the jar 1/3 full with clear glue (add more for a slower settling time)
  2. Add another 1/3 water to jar
  3. Sprinkle in glitter just enough to lightly cover the surface of the water Hint: Avoid shaking the jar here as this will create a lot of foam and take up water space
  4. Fill the last 1/3 all the way up to the top with water
  5. Screw on the tight fitting lid
  6. Shake the jar to swirl the glitter and test for leaks
  7. Optional: Use a glue gun to squeeze a line of hot glue inside the lid to prevent leaks.

Note: Students can enjoy making their own personal “Mind in a Jar” using small 8oz water bottles.

This mindfulness tool can be used when feeling tense, angry, frustrated, nervous, overwhelmed or confused. Just take a few long, slow, deep breaths for a minute, focusing on the inhales and exhales. It can help bring the mind back to the present moment, to right here and right now.


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