Mindful breathing is a simple mindfulness activity that encourages students to focus on the sensations of their breathing. There are multiple variations of this activity that can be adapted to many grade levels. As part of the .b Mindfulness in Schools project, students are encouraged to practice 7/11 breathing, in which they count to seven while inhaling and to eleven while exhaling (TEDx Talks, 2013). For young students, Kira Willey recommends having them imagine they are a bear during hibernation, taking long, deep breaths in and out through their nose (TEDx Talks, 2018). The Greater Good Science Center, at the University of California-Berkeley, recommends having students trace their fingers while breathing, inhaling while tracing UP each finger, and exhaling as they trace DOWN it (Greater Good in Education, n.d.). The videos below, created by Headspace and Sesame Street include a few additional suggestions and guided mindful breathing exercises.
||A handbell or tuning fork.
||A few minutes daily or as needed.
- Draw students’ attention to the bell or tuning fork and instruct them to direct their attention on the sound of the bell or tuning fork as long as possible while it is ringing. Consider asking them to raise their hands once they no longer hear the sound.
- Ring the bell or tuning fork.
- Redirect student attention as needed.
Greater Good in Education. (n.d.). Finger tracing: Mindful breathing for students. Greater Good Science Center: University of California- Berkeley. https://ggie.berkeley.edu/practice/finger-tracing-mindful-breathing-for-students/#tab__2
TEDx Talks. (2013, February 14). Mindfulness in schools: Richard Burnett at TEDxWhitechapel [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mlk6xD_xAQ
TEDx Talks. (2018, January 10). Bite-sized mindfulness: An easy way for kids to be happy and healthy - Kira Willey TEDxLehighRiver [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOlIdmMK_zM