Hizzoner to NYC kids: Just breathe.
All public schools will soon be required to offer two to five minutes of mindful breathing exercises to students every day, Mayor Adams announced with a Zen-like calm on Tuesday.
“There’s a science to breathing,” Adams told students at PS 005 Dr. Ronald McNair in Brooklyn Tuesday.
“Breathing calms your nervous system, it helps to center us and help us regain our sense of balance and focus. It is a valuable, low cost tool that is proven to improve mental health and well being.”
Schools citywide will be required to deliver two to five minutes of breathing instruction to kids grades K-12, building off of the city Department of Education’s Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program announced earlier this year.
A City Hall spokesman said the instruction will be built into the existing yoga program, with no new direct costs to the schools.
Hizzoner dubbed the proposal as “the school experience of the future.”
Adams, a big promoter of meditation and a yogi himself, said the practice even helped him stand out in the 2021 mayoral field – causing his opponents to fear his cool.
“I remember when I was debating to become mayor, we were walking to the studio and all of the candidates would be moving around out of nervousness.
And I would sit down in the studio before we went on to debate and do my breathing exercise and one of the candidates looked over at me and said, ‘We’re never gonna beat this guy!’”
A City Hall aide did not respond to an immediate request for comment as to which candidate Hizzoner was referring to.
“That is what we are giving to these children. Young people, you’ll never be defeated. You have a tool right now that we’re giving you that is going to empower you.”
He predicts the practice will turn the “disruptive” “Erics of today” into model students – referring to his own childhood, as a self-described hooligan.
“You’re going to see a change over time.”
“Instead of having violence, we will have balance,” he added.
DOE Chancellor David Banks noted it’ll be up to school principals and administrators to build in the extra time, be it in the morning before the day starts, during advisory periods or during a gym class.
The DOE will incorporate the practice into its literacy program and teachers are on track to be trained in the exercises over the summer.
An Adams spokeswoman said “these practices have already started in our public schools. 60 percent of schools have already been trained. Trainings will continue over the summer and fall 2023 for teachers and staff. We are hopeful that breathing practices will be in all public schools by Spring 2024”
The new practices will be a part of the DOE’s “literacy curriculum” and the United Federation of Teachers say about 2,500 teachers have been trained so far.
Banks said kids are already doing yoga in some city schools.
Although kids won’t be forced to participate, Adams predicated school kids will come around to the idea.
“Although we are building it in as a requirement, it is not forced on anyone. If you choose not to do the breathing exercise that’s fine. Eventually you will find your way,” he promised.
He’s also previously criticized New Yorkers for failing to exercise enough.
“I lose votes every time I take a hot dog out of school. I like to say I’m the broccoli mayor. You’re not gonna like it now, but you’re going to look back later and say, “Darn it, this guy’s got it.”