Volcano Breath

Breath work allows us to set an intention and align our body and mind.

The practice of mindfulness begins with noticing breath. Once you can sync breathing and movement, our physiology begins to shift.

A great breath to use starting out is Yoga Calm‘s  Volcano Breath. It is an upward arm movement synced to inhale, and a downward arm movement synced to an exhale.

Whether your site uses a Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting or you use another morning huddle/meeting routine, this is the perfect time of day to implement breath work. We end our morning meeting with a volcano breath. A proactive intervention to address tardies and absentee students is to take a breath for each missing student. Children will realize that they are a valued member of the community and are missed when they are absent.

Once you are comfortable with volcano breath, try adding in an intention. It can be an individual intention, but it can also be a class intention. Working on reading stamina? Have students visualize what it would feel like to get really into a book….so lost in a book that the rest of the room disappears and time stands still. Have them really step into this feeling. Then, breathe your volcano breath for love of reading. Guaranteed impact. Working on kindness? Visualize what it feels like make a new friend. Then, breathe your volcano breath for the love of friendship. You get the idea. What a great way to review learning targets for the day! Students are actively, physically, emotionally connecting to what it is you want to accomplish.

Another layer you can add is beginning or ending the breath by ringing the chime as students reflect on the intention. If your site allows essential oils, rubbing our Move Mindfully® Blend on hands before a volcano breath can help tap into the full sensory experience.

Students use breathing strategies during their morning routine.

Still skeptical? One of our reading interventionists approached me and said, “I was testing one of your students and in between books I told her she could take a little stretch break. She sat there, closed her eyes, and did five volcano breaths!” Students will begin realizing the power and strength they can find in their own breath. I challenge you to give it a try. It will change your students. It will change you.

For more ideas visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store to view our Intention Setting and Move Mindfully® Meeting resources.

Leave a comment below about your experience integrating breath work into a morning routine.

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

15 replies
  1. Andrea Hansen
    Andrea Hansen says:

    I have also felt the power of breath this week. A student came to a calm-down room, and all I knew was that he had been testing and was starting to be disruptive. The timer was set for 5 minutes, and he did some Lazy 8 breathing and colored for a few minutes. This student came in mute and after a five minute break which included intentional breathing, was able to say he was frustrated because the test, which had started out easy, had gotten harder. He placed himself in the yellow zone and then showed me the finger breathing he had learned in class. I encouraged him to use his breath to calm his mind and body.

  2. Kris Boyles
    Kris Boyles says:

    Being a specialist teacher, I do not have my own classroom to conduct a morning meeting and integrate these activities. I can and have joined classrooms and participated in breathing exercises. I also have difficult mornings and things that I bring with me to school that can affect my interactions. Taking a breath has been my go-to technique this year to help me pause, reflect, plan and take action. It is very simple to do, but does have a lasting impact, no matter your age.

  3. Kristie Cummings
    Kristie Cummings says:

    I tried volcano breath during morning meeting today. We were doing the ball toss greeting. I challenged them to reduce the time it took them to complete the activity. We did 5 volcano breaths visualizing what it might look like to all work together to accomplish our goal. They took 25 seconds off their time!

  4. Jodi Carter
    Jodi Carter says:

    I love the idea of intention for the volcano breath. I will definitely add that to our day. I have mainly used it when students needed to re-focus, at that time we’ve used the ‘erupting volcano’ and I believe that it makes a big difference for a few students, moving them from the yellow to the green (learning) zone.

  5. Jenny Regan
    Jenny Regan says:

    I used volcano breathing today with a student who was struggling behaviorally. I asked her to sit in our calming corner to calm down and asked her to do some volcanos to relax. She did and after a couple minutes I went over to join her and together we came up with a heart thought for a better afternoon. I found it powerful for us to do this together,must us two. She was ready to re-join the group in a matter of a couple minutes!!!!

  6. Alexa Breen
    Alexa Breen says:

    I have been issuing the volcano breaths and the breathing ball in class and it not only transforms my class, but it helps me collect myself to be the best, most patient educator I can be! Breathing and centering is such a great way to start and end our day 🙂

  7. Kelly Gibson
    Kelly Gibson says:

    Thank you Stephanie for the inspiration. I can see and feel the impact this work is having on my students. I am so excited to learn more and share more with my students.

  8. Amy vitelli
    Amy vitelli says:

    I enjoyed reading the comments. I have not started working with students consistently yet, but hope to soon. Sounds like i can maybe can use this approach with students who maybe dont want to work on a particular day.

  9. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing the volcano breathing. I have not used it yet. I have used the ball breathing with my students during my hour class. We did it to start our time together. I never told the kids that they could do it at any time they felt they needed it. But one little first grader, who is a quiet kid, continued to do the breathing though out the hour. Every once in a while I would look over and he would be imagining a ball in his hand, close his eyes, and breathe. I love it!

  10. Anne
    Anne says:

    As kindergarteners, my kiddos are working hard on body awareness and being responsible for their bodies at all times. We focus on our breathing when we are in the hallway, waiting to use the bathroom. It helps my students calm down after being excited at recess and lunch, as well as build their stamina for being patient and waiting their turn. We tend to do the 5s breathing rather than volcano breathing at this time, but by focusing on their breathing and becoming aware of how their bodies feel when they are calm, my students are learning to be in control of themselves.

  11. Leah
    Leah says:

    Nicely written blog post Stephanie. I have used volcano breaths and pinwheel breaths with a few students, but I haven’t yet tried the heart thought/ intention. I will try that. I love that idea.

  12. Gina Taack
    Gina Taack says:

    This is such a great alternative for our students, I am looking forward to seeing the difference in my students and their reactions to stress/anxiety/interactions with one another! Thanks for bringing it!

  13. Kalli Holzwart
    Kalli Holzwart says:

    This is wonderful what you are doing with your students! There is so much anxiety and rushing around that practicing being mindful and breathing is a huge asset for these kids to cope with life. It also is a great way for them to use that visualization to see the process of things and not just the result in wanting instant gratification!


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