School combats stress with breathing

NOVATO, CA Every Monday morning Sinaloa Middle School in Novato takes time to breathe. "It doesn't take much for them to get into this relaxation mode," said Joanne Golden, Dean of Students - Sinaloa Middle. For just two minutes - students practice this yoga like technique in class. Breathing - visualizing and relaxing. It's used to combat stress in students as young as 6th grade. "Sometimes these students are over programmed and it's hard to handle. This is a high achieving school in a high achieving community. It's stressful for a lot of kids," said Golden. Bay Area cardiologist doctor John Kennedy says all that pressure and stress -- even on kids -- can damage the heart. "There is a whole physiology that changes in our body when we take a deep breath. It stimulates the nerve that relaxes us and decreases our heart rate and our blood pressure," Dr. John Kennedy MD, Kaiser Permanente. Kennedy claims there is a direct connection between stress and heart disease and the breathe technique may help protect the heart. It isn't new, it comes from ancient Egypt. But Kennedy modernized it and sold the idea to Sinaloa Middle School. "I use it sometimes. If I am really nervous before a performance I just say okay Kyleigh - just breathe," said Kyleigh Hoy, 6th grader - Sinaloa Middle. "Yeah, it works for me I don't just do it for those two minutes but for baseball and basketball games. It calms me down," said Jimmy Fewell, 6th grader - Sinaloa Middle. It also helps calm world champion golfer Tiger Woods and Golden State Warrior star Baron Davis both admit to using similar breathe techniques when the pressure is on. Right now only two other schools in the Bay Area practice this technique in the classroom. Kennedy hopes that more will sign on in the future. But for now - these students will continue to breathe.
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