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By Dana Chapman
Many parents and teachers find that their entry point into mindfulness is to explore simple practices with their children or students. Pausing for breathing breaks is one easy way to start this exploration, to bring some calm into the space, and to feel the effects of deep breaths on the body and mind.
Below are three examples of breathing practices that have worked well for the children I spend time with. You can tweak them to suit the age of your child/students. For example, if I’m working with young children I give them a square and have them trace each edge to match the four components of the square breath (rather than counting the breath as outlined below).
Ask the children to sit up nice and tall, making themselves as comfortable as they can. Point out that it’s much easier to take deep breaths when our posture is good! Explain that you will try a couple of different breath counts together and then everyone can choose which one feels best for them…
Inhale for a count of 3
Pause for a count of 3
Exhale for a count of 3
The first year of university is an exciting time. Personally, I couldn’t wait to make new friends, attend new classes, and experience a brand new atmosphere. What I wasn’t prepared for was the new food. The first year of university is notorious for “the freshmen 15”, an expression describing the amount of weight that some students gain in their freshman year. Many believe that this expression is a generalization, and perhaps even a myth. I, on the other hand, know first hand that “the freshmen 15” is not a myth, but an unfortunate reality for many university students, including myself. What follows is the brief tale of how I gained, and then subsequently lost 10 pounds in my first year of university.