Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Why teachers and kids should be moving, breathing and doing mindfulness activities throughout their day

Andonia Kailis

News Image

The burnout rate amongst rookie teachers is currently sitting at 50%. Youth suicide is the highest it’s been in Australia in 10 years. Classrooms are becoming veritable stress pools. Teachers are over-worked and under appreciated. Students, as young as 3, are navigating anxiety, depression and a range of other mental health challenges as they grapple with growing academic, peer and home pressures alongside the onslaught of social media.

As we hurtle towards a new decade, how do we create classroom environments where nourished teachers nurture students to become capable, creative, critical thinkers while maintaining their mental health and wellbeing?

It's easier than you think!

Beth Borowsky, of The Karma Class, teaches teachers how to easily weave mindful movement (yoga), breathwork and mindfulness into every school day, for just minutes at a time. “It’s a low cost and highly effective way to create calmer, healthier and more vibrant learning environments. And teachers don’t need to be health gurus either, they just need a few simple tools,” says Borowsky.

Why is this SO important?

“Because just a few minutes of mindful movement and deep breathing overrides the stress response, halting the flight-fight hormone production. Strengthening, lengthening, twisting, bending and stretching, coupled with smooth breaths, very quickly creates mental and physical focus which immediately helps students and teachers to be less reactive, and feel more vibrant, interested and better able to concentrate,” explains Beth.

“Mindfulness practices and deep breathing exercises stimulate kindness to oneself and to others.” The parasympathetic arm of the nervous system (rest and digest) kicks in, triggering the relaxation response, a term coined in the 1970s by Dr Herbert Benson, professor, author, cardiologist and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute. “In a world that is chaotic and over-stimulating for all of us, especially kids, it’s important to offer what I call Peace Pauses – minutes during the day where students and teachers are drawn back into the present… to re-set,” says Beth.

She explains: “When students are expected to sit for too long, fidgeting, distraction and potential disruptions begin to bubble up. The body starts to tense, focus wanes, sluggishness sets in. Similarly, when a student is having a ‘melt down’, suggesting to them to be calm, or to take deep breaths, falls on deaf ears. When we are in a state of stress, we cannot function optimally, we cannot focus, we cannot concentrate and we will more than likely make the wrong choices.

But if we give students opportunities to move mindfully, for just a few minutes during long periods of stillness, and they are taught breathing tools for self calm, to energise and/or self regulate during regular class time, they begin to develop a wellness resource kit, a toolbox of wisdom that they can to turn to in rough times.”

“And if they feel stronger and happier, they will be keener to learn and kinder to themselves and others.”

By weaving bursts of daily yoga + breath + mindfulness experiences into the classroom, we minimize challenging situations from occurring. We are also gifting students with tools for life. And when a challenge does arise, teachers can remind their students to use their wellness tools - empowering them to make wiser choices that bring them back to a state of calm and composure,” Beth explains.

Beth Borowsky is an educator, yoga teacher, teacher trainer and mum of 2 adult daughters.  She is the founder of JustBreatheYoga ( and The Karma Class ( ) Her accredited workshop A Calmer Classroom: Yoga, Breath + Mindfulness teaches Australian teachers how to implement culture change within their classrooms and school by easily weaving minutes of daily Yoga, Breath and Mindfulness into the day.

2 Dec 2019 | SA
Be Active Challenge increases activity News Image

A total of $50,000 has been awarded to 50 schools recognised for their outstanding achievement in this year’s South Australian Premier’s be active Challenge.
Read More

2 Dec 2019 | National
Using indigenous contexts to teach the Australian curriculum: science News Image

Science teachers can access a complete suite of resources from Foundation to Year 10 to support them in integrating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority into Science subjects. Read More

1 Dec 2019 | National
Provide free school travel for struggling students News Image

Public transport isn’t cheap anymore, even with a concession it is $607 for a full-year student pass. Some families cannot afford a myki, let alone a lump-sum payment, which is currently the cheapest option. Read More

1 Dec 2019 | NSW
Second stop work for Catholic schools staff News Image

Employees at the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office (CSO) will engage in a second round of protected industrial action following further restructure announcements by the diocese this week. Read More

1 Dec 2019 | National
PeopleBench Appoint Chief Technology Officer News Image

Education workforce analytics and research company PeopleBench has appointed technology leader Peter Blyth to the position of Chief Technology Officer as it nears 100 subscriptions to its data-driven school benchmarking platform. Read More