The Breathing Jar (video)

A breathing jar is a simple, fun mindfulness support.  As a family, class or group, we take a moment to look at the jar when it's been shaken, The glitter swirling is like our mind when we're full of thoughts and strong feelings. We let the jar sit, and watch what happens. Within a few moments, there's a change in the storm inside. Within a minute, things are slower, more spacious, more clear. It's what happens to us when we meditate. 


  • jar with lid
  • water
  • glycerine
  • glitter (thick glitter works well)
  • glue to seal lid

Fill the jar 3/4 full with water.

You can do this as a group. Take a moment to sit together and come back to your body. You can lead a meditation to set an intention. Take turns choosing some glitter and sprinkling it in, sharing what you wish to connect with. When we made a jar, the group's intentions included:

  • may this help us to feel calm
  • may we send support to people who have been hurt in the earthquake 
  • I wish for happiness
  • I hope we feel less worried
  • I hope we laugh lots
  • for everyone who is feeling sad
  • may we know that we're okay

Everyone takes a turn to contribute a wish for the jar. Then top up the jar with glycerine (I use 2 small bottles to give a nice slow movement) and with water. Seal the jar lid with glue and allow to dry fully.

You can teach children to hold the jar in two hands, to keep it safe as they shake.


The Breathing Jar needs to be used regularly, so that people can learn the habit of relaxing. Someone shakes it up, and everyone knows that they have nothing else to do except to breathe at their ease, as the jar settles. The entire group practices resting in the swirling glitter, letting everyone feel a little more calm and ease. 

Some uses are:

  • start of mealtime
  • someone getting upset or angry
  • bedtime
  • before leaving for school
  • at start and end of lesson
  • at end of lunchtime
  • noticing that this is a happy moment
  • when we turn off the tv or our devices

Let me know how the jar works for you!