Take a Breath
“Generally when babies are born, they have a pretty good respiratory mechanism – they use their diaphragm. As they get older, often as the result of physical and emotional trauma, their breathing patterns shift subconsciously. Through the Take a Breath programme we make children aware of their breathing and also of this physiological shift. We teach them how and when to use good, relaxed breathing in every day life, especially as a tool to help themselves in times of stress and anxiety. During the sessions I am also able to introduce them to classical music. It is incredible to watch the way they delight in both the breathing exercises and the music.” Amy Dickson
“I’ve got a brother who’s a headmaster, my mother was a special needs teacher and my wife works in a primary school so we have big debates in our house as to what you should teach children. If I had my way the first thing I would teach children is how to breathe”
Mr Gerry Gajadharsingh, D.O. Diagnostic Consultant
Amy Dickson has designed the Take a Breath programme to help equip young children in their formative years with simple yet invaluable breathing techniques which encourage them to breathe properly. The idea is that they will carry these tools with them into teenage years and adulthood, thus providing a useful support in dealing with situations which may cause stress and anxiety, such as preparing for impending examinations.
Ms Dickson has taught ‘Take A Breath’ in primary schools throughout the UK, Australia and Asia and has been encouraged by the overwhelming support she received for the scheme from teachers and pupils alike.
“If our children learn to practice relaxed breathing during times of stress or anxiety in their formative years, the hope is that they will have these techniques ready-to-hand at GCSE stage and into adulthood” said Charlotte Cork – Music Teacher, London Junior, Alpington Primary & Hobart High.
Ms Dickson first embarked on a breathing awareness regime herself, having been made aware by experts that even as a leading woodwind player, her breathing was “all wrong”. Having then taught herself the advanced ‘circular breathing’ technique in order to extend her own skill set and thereby be able to maintain her sound for a longer period of time, she quickly realised that she could pass on the message of the importance of good breath control and that by starting with primary school children, this could make a meaningful difference to their overall wellbeing.
Leading health professional, Gerry Gajadharsingh, Osteopath & Diagnostic Consultant, noted: “In clinical practice, I see a wide variety of problems affecting both the physical and emotional/psychological systems, indeed often a combination of both. What’s fascinating is that 70% of the patients I see don’t breathe well. Research has suggested that this is true of the general population. Good breathing behaviour optimises delivery of oxygen on a cellular level, influences control of pH and most critically helps our autonomic nervous system achieve balance. This is the largest part of the nervous system, which controls everything within the body. Now that is amazing. If primary school children learn how to breathe properly by getting into the habit of practising bit by bit, they will be able to influence how their bodies and minds work on a profound level.”
~For further information on ‘Take A Breath’, please contact: Vicky Corley-Smith, VCS Management: [email protected]
Illustration by Chris Mckelvey-Jones