This major US city now needs to teach mindful breathing in its public schools

June 28, 2023 0 Comments

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Math, reading, recess, and now breathing work. Starting this fall, breathing exercises will be integrated into the daily routine of more than one million New York City public school students.

Mayor Eric Adams and David Banks, the city’s chancellor of education, announced the new initiative on June 27. It will require teachers to do two to five minutes of breathing exercises every day at all levels, from kindergarten through high school. Anyone who does not want to take a few slow breaths can abandon the practice.

The power of breathing

As most regular and dedicated yoga practitioners know from experience, the simple act of taking a deep breath can renew your entire day. This sentiment is also acknowledged by Adams. “Breathing calms your nervous system,” he said in the message. “It helps center us and restore a sense of balance and focus. It is a valuable, inexpensive tool that has been shown to improve mental health and well-being.”

Slow breathing exercises can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and help you focus. These are important benefits for students. A 2021 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 42 percent of students felt sad or hopeless, and 29 percent of students had poor mental health. By integrating stress-relieving techniques into the classroom, students have the opportunity to learn tools to self-regulate their emotions, mind, and body.

And this initiative is worth a small cost per school day. “We’re not talking hours,” he said. “Two to five minutes change the situation.”

In years past, many school districts in other countries have incorporated yoga into the school day. Next could be conscious breathing.

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