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10-15 minutes






To help students develop a deeper mind/body connection, self-regulation, awareness of emotions, and resiliency by practising deep breathing

Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section). Select a breathing practice that appeals to your group of students and your comfort level. For each practice, ask students to stand/sit with their backs straight and keep their shoulders and heads relaxed as they gaze forward, or they can close their eyes if they feel comfortable doing that. Read the chosen script out loud as you move through the practice.

Deep belly breathing
  • Place your hands flat on your stomach or pay attention to your stomach.
  • As you breathe deeply through your nose, send this breath all the way to your stomach.
  • Feel your stomach expand and your hands move out.
  • Breathe out. Feel your stomach contract and your hands move in.
  • Repeat.
Hot chocolate
  • Place your hands together as if there is a cup of hot chocolate between them.
  • As you breathe in, pretend to smell the hot chocolate.
  • As you breathe out, pretend to blow on the steam.
  • Repeat two or three times.
Breathing kindness
  • As you breathe in – breathe in kindness. Send this kindness to the center of your body.
  • As you breathe out – breathe out negativity. Send this breath out and away from you.

These practices should be practiced regularly and can be done anywhere.

  • Have students choose a focus word to silently repeat with each breath (Yahweh, Maranatha, peace, love).
  • Encourage students to inhale and think of God’s love for them, and when they exhale, think about the people around them that they will share that love with.

Guided breathing exercises are an effective tool to help students regulate emotions (Metz et al., 2013). Specifically, Embry & Biglan (2008) state that when practising nasal breathing (i.e. breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth) cognitive function is improved, while feelings of panic, anxiety, and hostility are reduced. Interventions that decrease physiological arousal, so the emotion and anxiety students feel becomes less intense, help students to refocus their attention on learning (Gregoski et al., 2011).

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x

Gregoski, M. J., Barnes, V. A., Tingen, M. S., Harshfield, G. A., & Treiber, F. A. (2011). Breathing Awareness Meditation and Life Skills Training Programs Influence Upon Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Sodium Excretion Among African American Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(1), 59-64. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.05.019

Metz, S. M., Frank, J. L., Reibel, D., Cantrell, T., Sanders, R., & Broderick, P. C. (2013). The Effectiveness of the Learning to BREATHE Program on Adolescent Emotion Regulation. Research in Human Development, 10(3), 252-272. doi:10.1080/15427609.2013.818488

‘Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.’ Genesis 2:7

On the day that God created us, He took a deep breath and inhaled all His love, joy, happiness, peace, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude and then He exhaled and breathed into us all His love, peace, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude for ourselves and to be shared with others. Taking time to focus on breath can help students prepare their body and mind reflection and prayer.

(4h) A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.