A K-5 Mindful Breathing Practice
Begin by sitting comfortably on your mat with your legs crossed, or in your chair with both feet on the ground.
Lift your head up toward the sky, sitting up a little bit taller.
Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly.
If it feels comfortable for you, you may close your eyes. If that doesn’t feel comfortable, simply look down.
Begin to notice your breath.
Is it fast?
Is it slow?
There’s no need to do anything about it, simply notice what’s occurring.
This is anchor pose.
Anchors are really important. They help keep ships still so that they don’t float away. Our own anchor points can do the same thing. They help us become still.
Let’s take three deep breaths in this pose.
Gently breathe in. Good.
And gently breathe out. Wonderful.
As you breathe in, notice how your hands rise as your body fills with air.
As you breathe out, notice how your hands fall as the air leaves your body.
Take another breath in and imagine your breath is a gentle wave.
As you breathe out, feel the wave leave and notice whether your body is starting
to feel calm.
Wonderful. Gently lower your arms to your sides. When you’re ready, open your
eyes or look up.
You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular.
It is not important for students to get this breath practice “exactly right.” Instead, focus on helping them build mind-body awareness each time you practice.
Offer students positive reinforcements throughout each practice. Focus on qualities and behaviors they can control, like their focus, effort, or persistence. Be specific whenever possible. This will help your students develop a “growth mindset.”
Before you begin this breath practice, invite students to define the word “anchor” and discuss its function. For example: Anchors keep ships from sailing away when the water gets rough. Anchors keep ships still, in one place, etc. Emphasize that anchors provide safety and stability.
Help students explore how connecting with their own “anchors” can help them stay present through the day. If the class starts to get distracted, pause and invite students to connect with their anchors and take several deep breaths.
Use the anchors breath practice before tests or projects that require students to concentrate.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project