Calming Classroom Chaos: Training Children For A Relaxed Focus and Con – Breathing.com

The product

Optimal Breathing® training for a relaxed focus and concentration.

Breathe in for a count of four; breath out for a count of four; then pause for a count of four. Count to four on the inhale, count to four on the exhale, and then count to four before breathing in again.

Inhale 1… 2… 3… 4… Exhale 1… 2… 3… 4… Pause 1… 2… 3… 4….

Practice this while waiting for the bus or when standing in the lunch line. Use it before an exam. Do it when negative thinking begins to cloud your mind or make your body tense. In this way, you’ll gather all some of that nervous energy and channel it in a very healthy and productive way.

This is a great start and there is so much more. With many, the above can be better at the outset but worse as time goes along. Kind of like heading to Mars a few degrees off and the further you travel the more you get off course. Taming the alligators a bit but never draining the swamp.

This one is more in depth. There are several others in the Breathing Kit.
1997. A teacher in the Oakland California school system has been using Optimal Breathing® training with his 16 first grade students 2-3 times a week with significant results for several years now. Following is his report:

“I have been using the techniques taught me by Mike White with my 1st grade class.  We usually did the exercise after lunch from 1 to 2 pm.

PROCEDURE 
I found with experience, the best way to begin the exercise is to have the students sit on mats on the floor and read them a short story before starting. This seemed to calm them down and to relax their energies after lunch and recess. This worked much better than attempting to have them come in and go right into breathing and waiting for them to calm down.

If a particular student were resistant to wanting to experience breathing on a given day, I would give them a place to sit and color and read a book.

I used large orange rubber bands supplied by Mike. We fit them around the waist for them to breathe in too. This slight resistance gave them a target to bring their breath and making their breathing more effective. Mike suggested we make a game out of it and see "who wants to be a ninja?" Lots of takers. 

Then he said to ask who wants to get smarter? 
Placing pennies (magic pennies) on their foreheads seemed to aid in focusing their attention and keeping them still (something that is a challenge for 1st graders)." If it falls off you want to put it back on so you will get smarter. We also used a special recording supplied by Mike called Better Breathing Exercise #2.

Then who wants to sing better?  Mike believes there is a singer wanna-be in everyone providing they have not been convinced by well-meaning but in fact accidentally or on purpose mean-spirited critic that they can't sing. Fact is said Mike everyone who is not congenitally or surgically deformed can sing. So lots of takers again.

Some students had consistent resistance to the optimal breathing work, this still (quieting) period in our class day. As we continued the work as part of our regular schedule students got more enjoyment from the work, and some seemed to crave it and were disappointed when we were not able to do the work as planned.

BENEFITS
I have seen dramatic changes in many of my students this year.  I would hesitate to claim that all of them were due to the breathing work, however, most of the students that are excited about breathing, and are 100% present when we do the work, have made significant progress in many areas.

One student who used to daydream continuously is much more focused on her class work. She is significantly more interested in finishing her work and doing it correctly, she is more present in class.

Another who was very much an introvert, shy and had little or no interest in school or relationships, all of a sudden is exhibiting extroverted behavior. She never used to ask questions in class, now she has her hand up all the time.

My class as a whole seemed to experience this opening and expanding. While the class is much more free and expressive and extroverted, they are also able to get focused as a group on a task or lesson more quickly than before we started the breathing work.

Working together, cooperating with each other and sharing are challenging experiences for 1st graders. Early in the year, students were almost always resistant to sharing. Now many of them are enjoying the activity of sharing their belongings with each other. They want to share their crayons with their neighbors, so they have more colors to choose from.

I see my class working harder, learning faster and very excited about school. They are enjoying their relationships and sharing their belongings and experiences together. I believe the breathing exercises we have been doing has opened, or expanded my students, and also has helped them to be more focused as individuals and as a group."  Blaine Tinsley. Oakland Public School system

From Mike:

This in effect creates a 3rd and 6th chakra meditation. That establishes a mind-body integration and connects the child more deeply into their core of being.  

"It is when our mind and, naturally and without contrivance, focuses on our heart that the self and the body become one." 
The Art and The Way of Hara, Seigen Yamaoka

The breath is the midpoint of the body. The diaphragm essentially cuts us in half; splits us in two from top to bottom.  Social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression often stem from an unbalanced nervous system precipitated by unbalanced breathing.  It can be likened to a sort of schizophrenia or at the very least a personality disorder.   

Adult conduct disorder, including ADD,  most often begins in early development stages of childhood and can stem from a lack of insight into where it is in ones' body that one needs to be to be at peace with one's self, in other words, to breathe. 

From Mike: I will add modifying breathing.But make breathing first because it is the easiest to change quickly.

Also:
Are some students lacking concentration?
Are any what you might call hyperactive?
When reading aloud do some of your students seem to become out of breath?
Do they hesitate in the middle of a sentence to breathe and then finish reading?
Are any tired after reading several pages?
Poor posture? 
These are clear indicators of possible breathing problems.

The product I used for the class is - click here

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN THE CLASSROOM?

Four million school children are given Ritalin every day to attempt to control behavioral disorders. This number is supposed to increase to over eight million-up to 22 million within a few years. What is wrong with kids today?

Maybe one of the main things that are wrong is giving children the very prescription drugs that are supposed to help them. But do these drugs help--or harm? The side effects of Ritalin range from commonly reported headaches and anxiety to rare but recorded instances of growth retardation and psychosis with hallucinations.

Are they even necessary? In a report published today, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest reviewed 17 controlled studies that found additives and certain foods affect children's behavior, adversely and dramatically. Doris Rapp, M.D., is an author of the landmark bestseller Is This Your Child? and the nation's foremost authority on food allergies.

Over twenty years ago she wrote in the Journal of Learning Disabilities, that her studies showed that "65 percent of hyperactive children on Ritalin can be helped by appropriate diets and allergy extract therapy without the use of any pills or drugs."

"It makes a lot more sense to try modifying a child's diet before treating him or her with a stimulant drug," said Dr. Marvin Boris, a pediatrician and author of a 1994 study that found diet affecting the behavior of two-thirds of his subjects.

In addition, I HIGHLY recommend you check thyroid levels even if you have had blood tests that show normal.

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