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+ Feedback from Middle School Children

I conducted 3 classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ for 2 boys in Gr 8 at Robert C. Parker School over 2 months – April to May 2014 (1) (2). These were after school classes for an hour. The way the classes were done is explained at (3). Their combined feedback is presented below.

When did they practice? 

  • Bedtime
  • Math class
  • Before homework
  • Mad at my brother
  • At School

What modes (s) did they practice? 

  • Folding mode
  • Tip mode
  • Segment mode
  • Counting mode
  • Feeling mode
  • Staring mode
  • 911 mode
  • Waking up postures on the bed – Phase I (4)

Why did they practice? 

  • I started to lose focus
  • I was mad at my brother
  • To calm myself
  • I was tired
  • To relax
  • Before I went to my thesis presentation
  • I could not fall asleep
  • Could not focus at school

How did the breathing help me?

  • It helped me get all the distractions out of my mind and just lets me focus
  • It relaxes me
  • I was less mad at my brother who was bugging me
  • I was able to do my homework
  • I was able to sleep

I like the breathing because

  •  It is very effective
  • It is relaxing and it works
  • It is relaxing and it is not hard to do
  • It helps me focus and it relaxes me

(1) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(2) Robert C. Parker School
(3) How were the classes done?: In the first class, they were shown all the 7 modes and practiced them briefly – ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’, ‘Segment mode’, ‘Counting mode, ‘Feeling mode’ , ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911 mode’. They were advised to practice at bedtime. In the second class, we reviewed all the modes and corrections made. I suggested they use the technique on waking up in the bed, turning the body in four different positions. In the third class, they were shown the ‘Waking up postures’ and ‘Morning exercises’. In every class, they filled out a feedback form with the questions (a) When did I practice? (b) What mode did I practice?(c) Why did I practice? (d) How did the breathing help me?
(4) Waking up postures on  the bed – Phase I

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+ Feedback from Elementary School Children

I conducted 3 after school classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ at Robert C. Parker School for 2 boys and 1 girl  in March/April 2014 (1) (2). The way the classes were done is explained at (3).The feedback form the children and parents is presented below.

Parent’s feedback
  • “I think breathing practice is beneficial for my daughter  in managing her impulses. She seems to enjoy the breathing practice in your class. When I prompt her to practice, though, she sometimes insists that she does not want or need to do it.  I am working on coaxing her to do the breathing practice with me. I would like to make it a regular practice for both of us. I think it would be good to do in the mornings and evenings, and then hopefully the practice will help her managing through the day as well”. My response to this mom is at (4).
  • “My son tends to do his breathing while he’s trying to fall asleep. I’ve observed him utilizing it over the past week, during an anxiety provoking situation.   The mode he tends to use is deep breathing while counting in his head.”
 Children’s feedback 

What times did they practice?: Most common were bedtime and morning. But some practiced at breakfast and evening also.

What modes did they practice?: Collectively – Folding mode, Tip mode, Segment mode and Counting mode.

Why did they practice?: Each of them gave different reasons.

  • Felt tired in the morning, practiced and felt awake
  • I got up before my mom and she didn’t wake me up as she was doing before
  • When I got home from school,  I was mad and I did the breathing.
  • Middle of the day – helped me not watch TV
  • When I had a headache I did the breathing and my headache go away.
  • When I was mad with my friend

How did the breathing help?

  • Helped me get to sleep, wake up and eat breakfast
  • When my dog got crazy, I did the breathing and my dog calmed down! (watching me doing the breathing)
  • Helped me go to sleep
  • It calmed me down when I was mad
  • When I was hyper, I would do the breathing and it calms me down

I like the breathing because

  • It is fun and relaxing
  • It is good for me. My mom wants me to teach her. I will teach her when I learn all.

(1) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(2) Robert C. Parker School
(3) How were the classes done?: In the first class, they were shown and practiced the ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’ and ‘Counting mode’. In the second class, we reviewed the previous modes and they were shown’ ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911’ mode’. In the third class, they were suggested how they could use the techniques at bedtime, on waking up and any other times they needed. In every class, they filled out a feedback form with the questions (a) When did I practice? (b) What mode did I practice? (c) Why did I practice? (d) How did the breathing help?
(4) My response to the girl’s mom: (a) It is better for her long term success not to coax her. Let the practice grow organically over some months, so that it becomes a part of her coping skills to help her all her life. (b) Our role is to encourage her own practice without making her feel like she is doing a chore. She is basically right that she would practice when she needed it. The exceptional situations where we should proactively suggest to practice are at bedtime which most children love to do anyway, when we see them upset, hyperactive, angry etc. (c) When she is in a good mood and you feel it is the right time, you can try practicing along with her, allowing her to practice her favorite mode and you can practice your own choice mode.

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* Feedback from Grade 3-5 Students

The school counselor of a local school searched on-line for Yoga classes to help the students reduce stress before and during the state tests. She found my website and requested me to train the students in grade 3 to 5 in the ‘Focusing on breathing’ technique (1) as an optional after school activity. I conducted two classes on April 17 and 24, 2013 for 9 students.

In the first class I demonstrated different modes of the technique and we all practiced each of the modes on one hand. In the  second class I asked for their verbal feedback on how they practiced the technique after the first class. I asked each of them to demonstrate any one mode and corrected the wrong demos. Several of them said they liked the ‘Staring mode’ (3) or the  ‘911 mode’ (4).

At the end of the first class, I collected feedback from them in a simple form with 3 open ended questions. The scanned images of the completed feedback forms are presented at (2). A summary of their responses is presented below.

When I practiced the breathing in today’s class, I felt … 

  • Calm and relaxed – 3 responses
  • Calm/ Really calm – 3
  • Good and happy
  • Relaxed
  • Relaxed, Calm, Focused

I want to try this technique when I …

  • Go to sleep – 2
  • Am mad – 2
  • Mad or tired
  • Stressed with school
  • Mad at my sister or stressed
  • Mad, angry and stressed
  • Am taking a  test

I think this practice will help me for ….

  • NYS test/ Tomorrow before the state tests – 2
  • Calming down, Stop being stressed, angry and mad
  • After being bullied
  • Getting up in the morning
  • When my sister is mad at me
  • Settling down
  • Falling asleep and calming down
  • A lot of things

The principal also participated in the class and gave the following feedback in the same form –
During the class she felt relaxed, calm, focused and stress free. She wanted to try this technique when she needed to refocus, before running a race and after a stressful day. She felt that this practice will help her in refocusing and training.

Feedback from the school counselor after the first class: “I heard great things about your class from the principal and the students.  You will be here again next week for the conclusion. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to provide a stress free learning opportunity for our students!”

Honorarium: Before doing the classes the counselor inquired about my charges. I said I loved teaching the simple technique to children and if the school was happy with the classes, they could offer me whatever they like. I am thankful to the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) of the school for the generous compensation they offered me. My plan is to follow up this group of students till they adopt the technique as their own, practicing it whenever they needed to  calm themselves or maintain their focus.

(1) How to be Calm and Focused? – Handout for children
(2) Scanned images of the feedback forms
(3) Staring mode
(4) 911 mode

Related page
Training children

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