Connecting the mind and body

Reduces Anxiety and Stress

🙏Our kids need this NOW more than ever.
With the rising levels of stress and anxiety in today’s society, conscious deep breathing exercises may be the answer. At Newport Beach Aikido, Sensei Gentil Pennewaert believes firmly that deep breathing is an essential part of training. Controlled breathing helps children stay calm and focused. Being mindful and present during the breathing exercises helps complete the aikido training. Awareness of yourself and your surroundings is very important in aikido. 

Deep breathing is an effective way of slowing down the body’s natural response to stress. It slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and provides a feeling of being in control.

  1. Simply breathe in deeply.
  2. Hold the breath for a moment.
  3. Release it slowly.
Did you know that breathing deeply activates the Vagus Nerve which comes from the brain and controls the parasympathetic nervous system and controls your RELAXATION response? 

“Breathing is regenerative and restorative. It can cleanse us of toxins that have built up in the body and the mind.” 

Sensei Gentil Pennewaert

Newport Beach Aikido practices 5 minutes of conscious breathing at the end of every kid’s class. After 40 minutes of aikido training, the children are asked to take some space on the tatami mat. They are asked to relax their shoulders, kneel in seiza, and calm their emotions. Using their arms and hands to guide the breathing in and out exercises, the instructor or sensei leads the breathing exercise while the students try to follow the  pace.
It is so vital that we give our teens and children the tools to manage stress and anxiety. Whether at school or at home, being able to control your emotions through breathing allows the child to stay calm and focused.
According to and author Janice Houlihan from the University of Massachusetts: “Mindfulness practices help the bully, victim, and any witnesses involved develop a deeper awareness of themselves, resilience, compassion, and a greater ability to regulate their emotional responses.”

In fact, learning about mindfulness helps teach our students more about their physical selves and how parts of the body and mind work together, and against us. Mindfulness becomes a type of “medicine” that they can use to combat the anxiety that may lead to bullying.

Like any good athlete, training students to become more mindful takes practice. And while the “art” of mindfulness may sound very simple, our highly over-active brains do find it difficult to practice at first. Using mindfulness in the classroom for just 10-15 minutes per day can greatly aid in a students’ behavior, attention, and thinking process.

During our Samurai Summer Camps for children this year, Sensei Pennewaert will be focusing on Mindfulness is dealing with bullying and also effective techniques to control bullying situations.

We hope that our aikido students will continue to practice the breathing exercises throughout their lives.

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