Calmness is the cradle of power.
—J. G. Holland
Calm children are better able to choose positive behavior than stressed-out
ones, who may feel out of control. This chapter contains activities that help
children be calm and choose kindness.
Practicing deep breathing is a quick way to calm down children’s nervous
systems, lower their heart rates, lower the blood pressure of their busy bodies,
and boost their immune systems. If children practice deep breathing regularly,
you will notice a difference in their behavior. When I first introduced one of
my classes to breathing awareness and simple yoga poses, the initial results
were chaotic. But over time, the children really looked forward to the exer-
cises, took pride in their abilities, and demonstrated a lot of cooperation. Deep
breathing will also help you relax, recharge, and enjoy.
I have called activity 12 “Freshersize,” which is a playful word I made up
to describe activities that blend fresh air with exercise—in other words, playing
outdoors. Children today spend more time indoors than ever before, and doing
so comes at a cost to their mental, physical, and spiritual health. Children are
no longer herded outside to play freely. More and more children experience
life and social interactions virtually, through computers, text messages, e-mail,
video games, and television. Freshersize activities describe ways to reconnect
children with nature.
I also encourage you to teach some simple yoga poses, because they will
help you de-stress along with the children. Yoga differs from traditional exer-
cises by recognizing the importance of the mind-body connection. It’s more
effective for improving not just physical but also mental and emotional health.