Mindful mornings for Bernabi third-graders

By on September 29, 2019
Kathy Netti led students in breathing, yoga, and mindfulness exercises on the playground.

Kathy Netti led students in breathing, yoga, and mindfulness exercises on the playground.

On Friday, September 6, the third grade students at Bernabi Elementary School finished out their first week with a surprise visitor. Kathy Netti, a friend of teacher Liz Meyers, community member and yoga instructor, led more than 70 students in breathing and mindfulness exercises on the playground. The activity is part of the district-wide health and wellness initiative focusing on whole-child education.

Cindy Vissa, third-grade teacher, said, “Mindfulness is an initiative to help them self-regulate so that they can better control that feeling of anxiety and are better able to focus on their work and what they need to accomplish at school.”

Netti began with breathing exercises. “You don’t have to think about breathing but, if you do think about it, you can breathe better,” Netti explained to the students. “Breathing is good for your brain. It helps you think.” The students then followed Netti through a series of exercises including basic yoga poses.

“School can be kind of challenging with tests and stuff so this can calm us down,” said third-grade student Emmie. Classmate Lila agreed. “I think this can calm me down because I was kind of scared on the first day of school.” 

“I’m very excited about this initiative,” said Liz Meyers, third-grade teacher. “I hope it will help our students feel ready for the day.” 

The idea for the yoga workshop originated at the third grade teachers’ team meeting. Ryan Ewanow presented the original idea and fellow teachers Vissa, Meyers, and Tom Burger all worked together to organize the activity. 

“We plan to incorporate yoga and mindfulness activities throughout the year,” said Ewanow. 

The team hopes to engage the students in “mindful mornings” at least twice a month and work to increase. They will be looking for additional community volunteers to lead activities as well as setting up volunteer opportunities for high school students.

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