Qigong in the Classroom Begins with a Single Breath

After my first class with Martha, I realized that a simple qigong practice would greatly assist my students in maximizing their personal, social and academic potential. Even though I had 34 years of teaching, a decade of practicing meditation and entered the 21st century as a learner and educator, I had made a discovery.

I mentor children who have specific learning difficulties and my career has been focused on understanding what gets in the way of a child’s learning. We now know that new neural pathways can be cultivated and the brain has the ability to form and re-organize connections in response to experiencing and learning.

Even though I am somewhat new to qigong, I could see that adding qigong to our class culture would greatly support a child’s learning capabilities and enhance their lives beyond measure.

I felt confident qigong would be very helpful to the kids because it has changed my personal and professional life in a multitude of ways. It has brought a greater sense of peace and calm to my inner spirit. I now end my teaching day with inner peace, a relaxed composure and more energy than ever before.

I decided to teach my students yang qi, conserving qi, which is a basic and simple qigong practice. We now start each day with yang qi and have added it to our daily schedule. Here is what we do:

Upon entering the class, the children organize their workspace/qi field by sitting or lying down in a circle, with hands over their belly button. They then silently breathe like a baby; inhaling as belly expands, and exhaling as belly contracts. The children are led through a meditation guided to choose an intention for their school day. We then share our intentions and focus on how qigong fosters our growth. Our daily class intention, which is practiced and cultivated throughout the year, is to celebrate joy and peace.

Recently, an administrator came into our class during testing. One of the students was lying on the carpet with his hands over his navel, silently breathing. The administrator asked what the child was doing. I shared he was conserving energy and calming his nervous system so that he could return to his test work. I quietly shared how to sit and breathe like a baby.

Low and behold the administrator sat down and gave the technique a try!

Together in Qi,
Vicki Pilling