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Breathing exercises promote mindfulness and calmness at Seattle school

SEATTLE — At TOPS K-8, there is a different kind of academics.

Heads are down, eyes are closed — but not out of boredom.

Every day, teacher Kristy Herrmann reminds her students to just breathe.

“It’s part meditation, part mindfulness, taught through a cute character in the program, Mind Yeti.”

“Yeti is really cool,” said one student.

The activities focus on feelings and frustrations. The students are also encouraged to pour those emotions out.

“It’s amazing what happened when we started those conversations,” Herrman said.

Q13 News witnessed it on Wednesday.

“I was feeling a little upset so I took a deep breath and let it flow all the way to the trash can in my mind,” said one student.

Teachers say what's really great about Mind Yeti is that it bridges the gap from the classroom to the home. It’s an app geared for children 5 to 12 years old that parents can use at home.

New Mission Ventures, Committee For Children is behind Mind Yeti. Director Mia Doces says they first experimented with the app more than two years ago and they believe it’s already reached half a million children. She says parents are using the app to calm their kids or focus on a feeling.

“When people intentionally think about the things they are grateful for, they are experience a better sense of well-being,” Doces said.

The idea is that gratitude and empathy comes with cultivating emotional intelligence at a young age.

Herrmann hopes her third-graders will take the lessons out of the classroom into the bigger world.

“Treat people the way you would like to be treated,” said a student.