We were thrilled to participate in a podcast with Daniel Bauer, of 'Better Leaders Better Schools', broadcast in early December, 2017. Daniel is gifted at bringing our passion forward in the interview, and his mission to support education and students shines through as well. Here is the link to the podcast:
Take a Breath for Educators and Parents
Thanks for what you do. Whether an educator in a school, or in health or wellness, even in your own home (Parents! That is you!), we thank you for doing your best to support these next generations to be their best.
It is tough out there. The pressures and influences of our world and Western culture are daunting. We look at the work of the 20th Century mythologist Joseph Campbell often; he was a champion of empowering the individual to rise up to the challenges of his or her own situation in life. He teaches that each of us has a unique and honorable place in the world, and that challenge is necessary for us to grow and discover our purpose. Our goal is to provide our precious beings with some tools to ensure they have the best chance to succeed in living a full rewarding life, in whatever way it unfolds in our chaotic world.
Research shows the powerful effects of mindful breathing and awareness:
- Calms the stress response
- Strengthens attention
- Promotes brain integration
- Fosters better sleep
- Strengthens self-awareness
(See some links here with further, more in depth research.)
This Take a Breath program is in essence a pre-mindfulness practice, also known as self-awareness or a form of consciousness. Most individuals; kids, teens, and adults, are not aware they have a choice, they feel pre-programmed (and to a degree they are, due to past events held in the body/mind). This program is designed to address that, in simple, doable terms and practices. We give them pause and a space to practice a relaxation response in the body.
In this practice what emerges is a choice. Over time, these simple breathing and relaxation practices give an ever evolving moment, a pause, to either just relax or release some of what we hold. Or, eventually, to begin to use that pause to express freewill, to choose our response to any given circumstance beyond the normal patterned responses of the external influences, or the internal programming. This program is a simple toolkit to come in to the present moment, and with technology, the student can use this toolkit whenever and however it serves them.
As parents we know there is, and will be; suffering, stress and strain for our children. There was a moment when my wife was driving our kids home from school; in the back seat my daughter began to have a melt-down about her day. Sonya pulled the car over, took a breath, relaxed and just listened. After a few minutes, everything calmed down, and Sonya asked if there was anything she needed, our daughter said, “no”.
There is a powerful message here. We want to help them, and yet, we can’t. We cannot fix them, we cannot control them. We assuredly cannot arrange the world in such a way they will not suffer. This is very challenging; to support them in their inevitable growth and growing up. While we will all, as parents, teach our unique beliefs, practices, and culture to our children, each ‘student of life’ needs to find ways to deal with what they are experiencing. In particular, they need a mind/stress break. There is too much information, influence and stimulation out there, and parents sometimes add to the amount. The pressures and influences of our adult world spill on to our offspring.
This program gives the tools of awareness and perspective. As you give your endorsement (and perhaps your involvement too!, see below), they will feel safe and encouraged to take advantage of this unique set of tools. To find simple moments, to perhaps take a breath, relax, do nothing. To rest, recover and restore the natural mental/physical/emotional health that is inherently theirs. We want them to be kids, children and young adults again, and give them the time to mature naturally.
Initial program use for Parents
Parents, we want you to have an opportunity to experience the benefits of the practice just as your children will. We believe in the power of resonance. When you practice this relaxation program, they will respect that, and perhaps be more likely to use it for themselves. We have even seen the benefit in practicing together. A family taking time to rest, and relax together can be a transforming experience.
Your school administrator or Take a Breath School Liaison will have the website and password for you to access the online content of the program.