"My breath comes from my mother's grandmothers," a child responds.


ABOUT THE ARTIST

When children (preschool-age) have an upset, I calmly call attention to their breath. I first gain eye contact.

"Look at me. Oh, there you are (when we're looking into each other's eyes). Find your breath if you can."

Using the breath helps calm feelings. Sometimes I show the children how particles in a newly poured glass of (unpasteurized) apple cider slowly settle and fall to the bottom of the glass. “When I’m still and listen to my breath, all the thoughts and feelings inside of me settle like the apple particles in this glass of cider.” (I learned this from Thich Nhat Hanh.)

Circle starts with quiet and practice being still with our breath.

“Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and a deep breath out through your mouth. Again.” 

We sit quietly with our eyes closed for a few minutes, legs crossed, hands on knees, focusing on our breath. 

Some kids use their hands to close their eyes. Some squint. Others wiggle. We begin with a few moments practice and by the end of the school year, we sit for 5 or more minutes.

After we practice, I whisper, "Where does your breath come from?" 

"In my nose," says Mason.

"It's from God," says Brennan.

"My breath comes from my mother's grandmothers," says Sophia.

"My breath comes from my heart," says Kate.

"And where does your heart come from," I ask.

"From love," she adds. 

Some parents say that their children show them how to practice breathing at home. 

During a test break for kindergarteners at Dublin Montessori Academy, school director Jill Roshon says the children close their eyes, put their hands on their knees, and breathe. They do this on their own, spontaneously.

Notes
Sitting meditation and breathing are helpful with stress and depression-based illnesses. Studies with children find that meditation can also affect what is called attention-deficit disorder in children. A summary of these findings can be found in this University of Wisconsin study and also on the Brooklyn College website.

5 comments:

  1. Very nice...Very nice. Keep it up. June Maddox

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, June! I love merging my love of kids, artists and collecting with others who share similar interest. Last post someone told me on FB that they purchased a work of art from the artist! Most of the time I don't know what happens though I think positive and believe people find each other.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing... sometimes we all need the reminder to just breathe. I love the way you mix art with your words.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Lynn. I'm trying to practice breathing more these days as we work on our flying course, and I'm seeing a lot of new art from our classmates. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Susan I love your explanation of the sitting meditation and breathing. I do slow and deep breathing with my son who has autism when his anxiety escalates... he doesn't care to do it but even when he does it 2-3 times with me, it's usually enough to bring down the level of anxiety and stress he feels. Now this blog post is a great reminder to myself to also focus on breathing more deeply and more often.

    I love Sophia's take on this... "My breath comes from my mother's grandmothers," :)

    ReplyDelete