‘HA!’ BREATH TO RAISE ENERGY
series: emotional wellbeing of children by Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, Richard P. Brown, MD
& Somiari Demm, MA/M.Div, CYT, CTS
Dr. Patricia Gerbarg: One of the first practices we teach is called Ha! Breath. It's a simple breathing exercise with movement.
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And you'll see it's a forceful movement and a forceful, Ha! And what it does is it helps to bring our attention into focus because these kids, their minds are wandering all over the place. They're scanning the environment for dangers. They're dealing with intrusive thoughts about what happened in the past. They're worrying. And so if we want to teach them or have them in school, we have to get their attention focused. And by doing hot breath just for a few seconds, that quickly focuses their attention.
Samier: So Ha! Breath is really good to raise our energy, wake our brain up, and have a bigger voice. So people don't always listen to us when we have a tiny, tiny voice. So we're going to have a big, Ha! And we're going to throw off a lot of our stress with the Ha! Are you guys ready to do this?
All right, so we're going to breathe in...Ha! Ha!
Breathing in...Ha! Breathing in...Ha! Breathing in...Ha! (Continue for 15-20 repetitions)
Alright, now relax. Close your eyes if possible, with hands by your sides and feel the changes inside of you. So there's an outer world, the world outside of us, and there's an inner world, the world inside of us, and we can change our inner world much more easily and in a bigger way compared to the outer world. Now, that's not to say we can't change the outer world, but can immediately change our inner world if we know what to do. And the Ha! Breath helps.
When you're ready you can open your eyes.
And now we're going to do a different kind of Ha! Where we're going to breathe in love and we're going to send out the love to everybody because everybody needs some love, as much as possible!
We're going to go Ha! And send out love. Ha! (15-20 reputations) And we're going to send love there and over there. And I'm going to send love to you, and love to you. Ha ha ha ha. And send love to the squirrels, and the birds. Ha! And the butterflies and the deer. And the cows. Ha! Ha! And the tigers, Ha! And you guys, and send love to me. There we go.
Ok, now we are going to relax. Hands by our sides. Feel how different the two Ha!'s are. Feel the energy in your body, your fingertips, your hands, your chest.
All that energy is all the love inside your body and caring about other people. So you can raise that love energy whenever you would like and get some stress out at the same time.
And you can open your eyes. How did that feel sending out all that love? Good. You liked it? What was your favorite part about that?
Sending out all the love to other people and the animals? Okay. Well, you know what? All the other people, all the other animals are sending that love right back to us. So thank you guys. That was great. High Five, high five.
Dr. Patricia Gerbarg
Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, New York Medical College. Dr. Gerbarg has lectured and taught about a wide range of topics in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, women’s issues, trauma, neurobiology, natural treatments (herbs, nutrients), and the integration...
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of mind-body practices in psychotherapy for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Meetings and many other conferences, academic centers, and community organizations.She serves on the APA Caucus on Complementary and Integrative Psychiatry and is a board member of the American Botanical Council.
Dr. Gerbarg practices Integrative Psychiatry, combining standard and complementary treatments. Her research focuses on mind-body practices for reducing the effects of stress and trauma, particularly in survivors of mass disasters, including the Southeast Asia Tsunami, 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, war in Sudan, Gulf Horizon Oil Spill, veterans, and stress-related medical illnesses.
Dr. Richard P. Brown
Dr. Richard P. Brown is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he obtained his medical degree 1977. The recipient of numerous awards, he has authored over 100 scientific articles,...
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books, and book chapters on pharmacological treatments, clinical studies, and complementary and integrative treatments in psychiatry.
Dr. Brown developed a comprehensive neurophysiological theory of the effects of breathing exercises on the mind and body, particularly its benefits in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dr. Brown gives over 100 lectures and courses every year. Since 1998, he has taught full-day courses on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as well as Mind-Body trainings for the American Psychiatric Association, other national and international conferences, veterans, and community service programs.
Somiari Demm, MA/M.Div, CYT, CTS
Somiari is a certified trauma specialist, a certified yoga teacher, and a certified breath body and mind teacher. Her areas of concentration include children and adolescents, trauma, mindfulness, and spirituality. She is a passionate scholar-practitioner in the...
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field of clinical psychology who has divided her time betweenclinical practice, training, workshops, and consulting. As a mental health practitioner, she uses mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy (MCBT) and other evidence-based practices to help adolescent and adult clients with a wide range of emotional, and behavioral issues.
Somiari has received extensive training in the treatment of addiction, mental illnesses, affect regulation, and trauma. In her consulting work, she has provided bullying, violence, and trauma training for elementary and residential schools. In addition to clinical practice, for 3 years she worked as a consultant counseling Chibok girls that escaped Boko Haram.Somiari has been interviewed by 60-Minutes, CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, BBC, and Aljareeza.
As a trauma thriver, her life experiences have fostered her love of, and dedication to the mental health field. Following the words of Gandhi, she believes that “purity of life is the highest and truest art.” Somiari also believes she is here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. Through her work, she is enriching the world through love, healing, and peace