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Notice and Release: A K-5 Breath Practice

Notice and Release

A K-5 Breath Practice

Subject

Type of Practice: Mindfulness and Social and Emotional Learning 

Intended Audience: K-5

Contexts

Social Context: Individual 

Duration of Practice: 5 minutes

Preparations and Resources

Materials: 

  • None

Set Up: 

  • For this exercise, have students sit at their desk in a comfortable position. 
Script

Today we’re going to check in on our minds and bodies. 

Begin by taking a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, allow your entire body to relax. 

Wonderful. Let’s do that one more time. Take a deep breath in, and then, as you breathe out, let your whole body to relax. 

Now bring your attention to your body and notice if you are feeling any physical sensations. There’s no need to do anything, simply notice what you’re experiencing. 

Take another deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing out any uncomfortable sensations you notice in your body. 

Let’s do that one more time. Take another breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine all the uncomfortable sensations disappearing with your breath. 

Now bring your attention to your mind. Maybe your mind is quiet and relaxed. Or maybe it is awake and active. Gently rest your attention on your mind, noticing what you’re experiencing. 

Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing out all the thoughts in your mind. 

Let’s do that one more time. Take another breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that all of the thoughts in your mind are disappearing with your breath.

Wonderful. 

Now bring your attention to your emotions. Notice if you are experiencing any emotions right now. Maybe you’re feeling happy. Or maybe you’re feeling mad. Greet your feelings with kindness, and for a moment, allow them to simply be there; there’s nothing you need to do.

Now a take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine breathing out any uncomfortable emotions you might be feeling. 

Wonderful. Let’s do that one more time. Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine your emotions leaving your body with your breath. 

Allow your entire body to relax. 

Wonderful. Take a moment to check in with yourself. Do you feel differently after this practice?  

Tips

You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular. 

Guide students through the process at a slow pace, integrating regular periods of silence to allow students to reflect. 

As students become more familiar with this practice, invite them to brainstorm how they might use it outside of class. Perhaps they could practice it at night to help them fall asleep. Or maybe they could practice it in the car if they find a sibling is annoying them. 

If time allows, invite students to reflect as a class on their experiences during this practice.

Variations/Extensions

Students in early elementary school are often still learning how to identify and articulate the many feelings and emotions they experience. For younger students, the following script may be helpful.

Today we are going to do an activity that helps us check in with ourselves to see how we’re doing.  

Begin by noticing your body. How does your body feel right now? Does any part of your body feel uncomfortable? As you bring your attention to your body, allow it to relax.

Now notice how your mind is doing. Does your mind feel busy with a lot of thoughts or is it resting at the moment? Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing out all of your thoughts so that your mind can be still. 

Now check in on your feelings. Are you happy? What is making you feel happy? Are you sad? Or maybe you’re feeling something else. You might feel excited, mad, confused, or thankful, or one of the many other feelings we experience. See if you can think of word to describe how you feel right now. 

In your head, say “Hello!” to whichever emotion is present right now, even if it feels uncomfortable. Greet it with kindness and allow it to be there. 

Now take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing that feeling out of your body. 

Let’s do that one more time, take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, imagine that your body is becoming quiet and still.

Now take a moment to notice how you’re doing. Do you feel any differently after that exercise? 

Authorship and Provenance

Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile

Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project

Associated graphic

Notice and Release: A K-5 Breath Practice
Collection Practices: K-12
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Megan Downey, Anna Basile
Year published 2019