Sifu Cristina Prudencio-Brunello

Youth Student’s Corner

By Sifu Cristina Prudencio-Brunello

Hello Youth students, missing all of your lovely faces right now! Life has been pretty crazy these last few months – so much of our lives are now online, like school, extracurricular activities, Kung Fu, and even hanging out with our friends and family over video chat.

And while we’ve had time to adjust to our new world, our brains may not have caught up quite yet, and we can have a lot of emotions swirling around. Maybe you’re sad that things have changed, maybe you’re happy to be home, maybe you’re stressed about schoolwork or worried about what comes next. There are endless possibilities and combinations. These are all okay feelings to have.

Sometimes, these feelings can be a bit challenging to navigate. Luckily, Kung Fu is here to help us out. On top of learning how to block and punch (and do all manner of cool Kung Fu things), we learn to be mindful. This means we keep bringing our attention to what is happening in this moment, instead of thinking about the past or worrying about what the future will look like. Mindfulness is a great life skill, but like everything in Kung Fu, it requires practice.

We practice mindfulness every class when we meditate. We sit down, close our eyes, and focus on just our breathing. It can sometimes be difficult to do, but I have a few fun tricks and methods that might help you out…

Balloon Breathing

  • Imagine that your belly is a balloon
  • When you inhale, pretend the air is filling up that balloon (you can watch to see your belly expand!)
  • When you exhale, do it slowly and with control so the balloon doesn’t fly away

“Square in the Air” or Box-Breath

  • Breathe in for a count of 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 4
  • Breathe out for a count of 4
  • Pause for a count of 4
  • With each count of 4, think about drawing one side of a box in the air!

 Colourful Breath (courtesy of Sifu Lorna)

  • Pick your favourite colour
  • Pretend the air is that colour as you breathe it in
  • As you exhale, imagine that the air you’re breathing out is your least favourite colour

Meditation is a great way to stop, take a minute or two, and check in with yourself. How are you feeling right this second? Are you happy? Restless? Sad? Frustrated? Excited? Sometimes, simply recognizing that you’re experiencing a certain emotion can help to calm you down and bring your mind back to this moment.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite movies:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

Master Oogway

Kung Fu Panda