For more information about the understandings, essential
questions, and alignment of this lesson to National Health Education Standards,
State Standards, please visit our website, www.roadoflife.org
This is a brief explanation of each practice that you can
share with students to prepare them for doing the interviews.Meditative exercises are highly effective in
reducing stress and are associated with providing health benefits.Some examples of meditative exercises include
Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong.Yoga is one
of the most ancient cultural practices of India. The word yoga in
Sanskrit means "to unite,” and so yoga connotes a unitive
discipline. In this sense, it is an exercise in moral and mental cultivation
that generates good health (arogya), contributes to longevity (chirayu),
and the total intrinsic discipline culminates into positive and perennial
happiness and peace. Tai Chi, if looked at from a Western point of view, can best
be described as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined.
from martial arts, the slow, graceful movements also sometimes reflect the natural
movements of animals and birds, designed to focus the mind and breathing
through a complex series of executions. In Tai Chi, where the form is practiced
in slow continuous fluid movement, muscles and joints are in motion. Breathing
is regulated as an integral part of this exercise. The effect is a sedative
upon the central nervous system which helps to stimulate improvements upon the
body's other systems. It is calming and de-stressing, the movements themselves
becoming physical poetry. When practiced properly, Chi energy is increased, and
one often feels a 'tingling' of fingers and toes and a warming up of the body.
The mind becomes clear and relaxed. The movements give a means for motor
control, balance, etc. and can help posture and loosen tight muscles. Qigong or
"Energy-Cultivation” is an aspect of Chinese medicine involving the
coordination of different breathing patterns with various physical postures and
motions of the body.
• Discuss the process of breathing or the respiratory system
• Air is inhaled through the mouth
and nose. Ask the students to take in a deep breath first through their mouths
and then through their noses to demonstrate this action.
• Once air is inhaled into the
mouth and nose, it travels down an air tube called the trachea.
• The trachea is connected to the
lungs. Air is carried to the lungs from the trachea to the lungs through two
branches called bronchi. These bronchi branch into smaller tubes called
bronchioles.At the end of the
bronchioles there are millions of smaller air sacs called alveoli.
• Alveoli or air sacs function to
exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body.
• The air sacs are connected to
the bloodstream. The air sacs release the oxygen into the bloodstream.The air sacs transport the oxygen through the
bloodstream.The carbon dioxide in the
lungs travels back up the trachea and is exhaled with each breath.
• The diaphragm muscle beneath the
lungs helps push air in and out of the body
Review the breathing process as previously outlined and have
students recall the different steps.
Ask students about the affects of smoking on lungs.Explain that smoking can damage the
air sacs in lungs making it harder to breathe.Breathing becomes difficult for smokers because the air sacs in the
lungs are damaged and do not function properly. This means that smokers also
have a much harder time playing sports, singing, dancing and doing other
activities which require controlled breathing and endurance.
unfortunately some people smoke cigarettes as a way to relieve stress.However, deep breathing is a healthy
alternative that helps to reduce stress and can function to improve the immune
system.Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong are
specific meditative practices that incorporate deep breathing into exercise
routines.Tai Chi and Qigong has been
known to improve health of cancer survivors and Yoga can serve as a stress –
To reinforce these concepts students will partake in a
simplified progressive muscle relaxation and breathing routine, interview
health professionals, and play an interactive game. The breathing activity
encourages students to focus on their breathing and since stress is a common
reason people cite for smoking, this deep-breathing routine is a useful
technique to reduce feelings of stress. Students will then interview meditative
exercise specialists (i.e., Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong) to discover the history
of the practice, the best way to do the exercise, and how the exercises can
improve health in general.The
interactive game teaches students the importance of having strong and healthy