Kathy Flaminio is one of our trainers and a social worker at a Minneapolis K-8 elementary school. Along with Julie Hurtubise, she has helped bring Yoga Calm to the Minneapolis Public Schools district-wide. (To learn more about their pilot program, click here. To see news coverage about it, click here.)
Recently, Kathy told us about how they’ve been taking time at her school each morning to bring the school community together through a simple Yoga Calm breathing activity that she first taught in classrooms and to school staff. Daily, over the intercom, she – or sometimes a student – says something like this:
Good Morning, Jefferson Staff and Students. We want to welcome everyone back to school this morning.
Every day at 9:40, we will bring our entire school community together by joining our breath with the breathing ball [Hoberman sphere, which is now “standard equipment” in many classrooms].
If you are in the hallway or in a meeting, please take a moment to pause so we can all breathe together. If you are in a classroom, please get your sphere out.
Begin to come into stillness, letting go of the morning and all that has taken place before coming to Jefferson. If you in a chair or on the floor, sit up nice and tall. If you are standing, press your feet into the earth and lengthen through the spine.
Let’s begin with shoulder circles…taking our shoulders up to the ears …back and down. Do this two more times. Breathe in and lift the shoulders up to the ears…and breathe out as you bring your shoulders down. One more time. Now begin to watch the breathing ball, or close your eyes and begin. Breathing in…let the belly puff up, and breathing out…let the belly move back toward the spine. Again, breathing in…and out. Six more times. Inhaling and exhaling…. Five more….
Take a moment to notice how your body and mind feel after taking eight deep breaths. Know that at anytime today when you feel frustrated, angry or nervous, you can come back to your breath and find center.
Have a great day! We are so glad you are here.
In telling us about the success they’ve had with this activity, Kathy commented on how those unfamiliar with Yoga Calm initially may see such activity as a distraction, taking away valuable classroom time. “But of course,” she said, “the breathing helps students and faculty alike quickly get calm and focused, and so better prepared to do good work. It prevents even greater distraction. And this is exactly why it’s time well spent.”