"Mom, I can't sleep!" "Why not?" "I don't know...I'm nervous and I can't stop thinking, thinking, thinking..." "Do you want me to teach you how to breathe?" "Breathe? But I already know how to breathe!" When a young boy can’t sleep, his mother teaches him how to breathe with his whole body. He learns new ways to move his body, notice his breath, and calm himself. He can pretend he is a ringing bell, a cat, a rocket…any number of things! The activities combine controlled breathing, stretches, and visualization, and are an introduction to mindfulness and meditation that can be used to help induce sleep or just to calm the body and mind.
Breathe is a conversation between a boy and his mother at bedtime. But this conversation can happen at any time, in any place.
Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers that describes the exercises and their effects in more detail. From the Note to Parents and Caregivers:And why is it important to know how to breathe well? If breathing is an innate physiological act for every human being, then we should not worry about how we do it! When we think about a baby sleeping, we realize that her entire body breathes—her belly moves with each inhalation and exhalation. But, over the years, we lose that abdominal and complete breathing, the diaphragm begins to weaken, and we progress to a shallower breathing rhythm. Regaining a full breathing pattern is a very important step in reconnecting with our bodies. If children learn how to do it when they are young, they have an important tool so that they can live deeper from the simplest and most necessary act that we all do—breathe. Since this theory seems very complicated and children love stories, Breathe presents a series of exercises—some come from yoga, tai chi, chi kung, or kinesiology—illustrated and adapted for children as they are already being applied in many schools and communities. In different religious traditions, there has always been a lot of importance given to the air we breathe, and the sacred has often been represented as the breath, the wind, the blowing spirit, the vital energy, etc. The practice of conscious meditation, centered on the breath and with the goal of being “present” in each moment, is called mindfulness.