Monday, March 9, 2015


Art Class Project
During this past school year I’ve been listening to the Living Wisdom School teachers in Palo Alto talk about having their students BREATH.  They are my go to inspiration for how to follow the Education for Life principles.  So as they talked about their experiences in encouraging their students to breath I paid attention.  After all, I know from my own yoga practice that the breath is a physical way to control our thoughts, emotions, and energy.  Can you use breathing anytime anywhere?  Yes!  You do not need to pull out your yoga mat or meditation pillow in order to stop, breath, and relax.  I tried it with my students and the results were instantaneous!  

The first time I tried it was with Oliver (not his real name) in my art class.  Oliver was wound up and going at 100 mph: talking, out of his seat and bothering even his friends.  I went over to him and out of desperation asked him to stop and take a big breath, let it out, and count the next 100 normal breaths.  I was amazed when he did it with no further prompting from me. As he finished counting his last breath he picked up his markers, went back to work calmer than I had ever seen him before. 

It even works with students that don’t know me.  As I was walking across our large middle school campus on my way to my first class I was going through our crowded courtyard with hundreds of 6th, 7th, 8th graders.  (We have over 1000 students.)  I saw a group of 8th grade boys overly rambunctious and rough-housing with one another.  Instead of hollering at them to keep their hands off each other I told them to stop and take a big breath and relax.  I was amazed when they in unison stopped and took a big breath like they were in the middle of a yoga class and then smiled at me like I had done them a big favor. 

What a useful tool to give these students and it is so simple.