Finding calm through Mindful Breathing
Do YOU have the magic breath?
Let’s see…Take a deeeeeep breath in…and BLOW it out…
…and like magic, you can feel better just by breathing!
Focus is defined as the center of interest or activity.
Focusing your attention on what is happening in the moment is the Art of Mindfulness.
An easy way for children to improve attention is by focusing on their bodies through body clues.
Brain-based strategies encourage children to notice their breath and heartbeat, and pay attention to how it changes during and after movement.
Learning to notice these internal changes will help enhance focus and resilience.
Teaching children to control their breathing can help them become less reactive when feeling anxious or stressed.
Paying attention to breathing also supports functioning in the higher brain regions responsible for cognitive processing.
One-minute of breathing practice can prime the brain for learning.
My Magic Breath
In our classroom we use the book “My Magic Breath” by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor as a tool to guide children into a serene space of mindfulness, self-awareness and balance.
This book is interactive and encourages the children to breath along as they learn how to make angry or sad thoughts disappear.
Another teaching tool we use frequently is guided breathing exercises.
These exercises are undertaken before we start our Yoga sessions which are also a important part of our day.
Below are some examples from this month’s Resilience Program
I provided the dialogue to guide the children to breath in deeply and then blow out slowly, visualising their way through a chaotic emotion towards calmness.
Each child was given a bubble container and asked to blow as hard as they can through the bubble wand.
The children were surprised to see that no one could produce a bubble.
I explained that when we are in a chaotic emotion our movements are often sharp and our breathing is forced.
I guided the children to first to sit still; breath in slowly and then blow their breath air through the bubble wand.
This time everyone produced a long trail of bubbles.
I explained that when we feel our emotions becoming chaotic we need to find calm by breathing long and slowly and visualising the bubbles taking away the chaos.
Each child selects a puppet which they placed on their tummy, the children are then encouraged to watch as their puppet moved each time, they take a big breath, just like the rise and fall of a wave. The children are guided to count their breathing “Breathe in-two-three” “Breathe out-two-three”
Inhaling the Universe
As a group the children stand in a circle with their feel wide apart.
Following the movements of the teacher;
- Children rise up on their toes and lower them again.
- Taking notice of when their feet connect flat with the floor.
- Raise their arms as high as they can with fingers spread apart, inhale deeply and hold their breath.
- Bend forward, exhale and say a big Ähhhhhhh! ”Swinging their arms down by their sides.
- Inhale, using their arms to scoop up the universe, stand up tall, spread their arms, exhale and let the universe float away.
This breathing exercise is repeated 3 times.
Benefits of Mindful breath work
Mindful breathing has many short and long term benefits.
When children notice their thoughts drifting and then bring their attention back to the breath, it can help them build focus.
Every time they catch themselves before reacting to a thought, it can help build self-control.
Mindful breathing can also help children become more self-aware and gain self-esteem.
That’s all from Miss Patti and the Pingins.