Bringing Mindful Breathing into Schools
By Bodhi Whittaker
It’s been a wild time with plenty of deep breaths and I hear it’s only just the beginning. Baby on the way (early January 2019), Mindful Teachers Academy launching online, and schools now ready to do the real inner work.
From where we started almost 3 years ago with Breathe Project as a ‘let’s bring change’ idea, to where we are today, working with over 169 schools across 5 states in Australia and the north island of New Zealand. It seriously blows my mind. When Kat (my partner) and I first launched this idea, we were met with some encouragement, but much more resistance and fears around bringing Mindful Breathing into schools as a daily Mindful Break. A pause moment where all staff and students can re-centre, re-focus and learn to quiet the mind. What the F would they need that for right?
Well, do we really have to get into the statistics of mental health? Teenage Suicides? Stressed teachers?
So now (3 years in)we are seeing a real shift in schools. We are being approached by schools that want to go deeper. They know they need to do something and actually integrate not just another program to add more pressure and stress on all staff, but a Mindful Break from all the stressors. We have had a rise in the commitment levels lately. A real rise in the Teacher Workshops we run as part of a Whole School Approach. We are seeing Teachers, principals and Well-being officers, really rallying together to create a more calm and connected learning environment. For example, a school we recently worked with in Cairns called St Mary’s Catholic College. They had the brilliant realisation while we were at their school, that they could bring Mindful Breathing into their daily prayer that comes over the P.A system before breaks. The students and staff already stop what they are doing, become quiet, and connect to their prayer. Adding a few Mindful Breaths in there was a no-brainer. Last week, I said to Kat a number of times, schools are now ready, and we are now ready to support them.
So the change we wanted to be apart of in such an outdated system is happening and that’s feeling incredible. Our job now, is to equip teachers with the tools, language and confidence to bring Mindful Breathing (and other goodness) into their classrooms and personal lives, even when their whole school is not on board. We have just opened The Mindful Teachers Academy (online). So that’s an exciting birth, just months away from the birth of our first child (or children). If you are a teacher or a kids yoga teacher and you would love to check out the Mindful Teachers Academy and what we are offering, then I welcome you.
I want to wrap this up now, with one of the greatest realisations I’ve had lately when wanting to birth (launch) a new idea or vision. JUST START.
I know it may sound simple.
Oh, and love your breath,
Words by Bodhi Whittaker