How a Deep Breath Can Transform Your Teaching Practice

Have you taken a deep breath lately? Usually, by this time in the school year we are settled into a comfortable routine. However, the unknown and the uncertainty of 2020 has not presented us with the opportunity to take a deep, cleansing breath--that sigh of relief. Wearing a mask also perpetuates shallow breathing, but that cannot stop us, because deep breathing supports our well being.

It's time to intentionally breathe!

There are so many reasons why you should!

Let's start with calming our minds and focusing our thoughts. Deep breathing propels me to the present moment--exactly where I should be. Inviting students to take a few minutes to ground themselves through their breath can calm the entire (virtual) room, or most of it anyway.

Here are my favorite benefits of taking deep breaths:

Release Your Tension: When you are angry or stressed, your body constricts. Muscles tighten and breathing becomes shallow. Breathing deeply magically allows your body to relax and come to a state of calm.

Detoxify Your Body: Our bodies are designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. Without deep breaths, our organs work overtime to push these toxins out. Overworked organs can lead to disease. Drink plenty of water after deeply breathing to push these toxins right out of your body.

Relax your Mind: The easiest and most effective way to come to a state of clarity is through breathing deeply. As you relax your body through the breath, you also relax your mind. Insights emerge through a relaxed mind. You may be surprised at the treasures of information that flood your mind after clearing it completely.

Strengthen Your Immune System and Oxygenate your Blood: What teacher doesn’t want a strong immune system especially this year? Deep breathing removes carbon dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood. This processes allows your body to metabolize nutrients and vitamins. This benefit alone is enough for me to remember to breathe!

Elevate Your Mood: Notice your mood before and after taking in some deep breaths. Breathing increases pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. I think we can all agree that we need more pleasure-inducing neurochemicals floating around in our brain while teaching especially in 2020!

Increase Digestion and Weight Loss: Through breathing deeply, the stomach receives more oxygen and operates more effectively. This extra oxygen burns excess fat in our bodies and increases energy levels. What’s not to love about this?

As a student and teacher of Yoga, here are some of my quick tips:

Sit or stand tall with shoulders relaxed, imagine being pulled from the top of your head straight up to the sky.

Inhale and exhale through your nose, after your inhalation gently hold your breath for a second and then release.

To ensure that your breath is deep, try this three part breath: as you inhale feel your belly, rib cage and heart center expanding, even imagine the breath filling up your side body. Then release first from your heart center, then through your rib cage and finally release everything through your belly. Ahhhhhh.

You've got this!

Take good care,

Julie /

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