It is important to become aware of the breath. By directing our attention to our breath, we are paying attention to that moment, that is now. Our breath is with us all our lives. We can observe many things by feeling it. Whether we are tense, calm, or worried… When we observe the movement of our breath, we begin to become aware of our inner world and the moment we are in.
During times of tension, such as before a test or a difficult interview, practicing breathing can help. Focusing on your breath has a calming effect, even in the tensest moments. In fact, paying attention to the breath helps both children and adults. Consciously taking a few breaths can prevent sudden reactions. In short, breathing on purpose can be one of the most helpful ways to get back in control of any situation.
That’s why I’ve brought together breathing exercises that I’ve used in my kid’s yoga classes so far and that kids love too. All you need is your breath. And remember that your breath is always with you!
1- Bear Hugging a Tree Breath:
Standing with the feet hip distance apart, open your arms wide and breathe in. Breathing out, bend your knees and cross your arms over and grab your shoulders, one arm on top of the other – as if hugging the stump of a tree. Remember to bring your other arm on top with each breath.
2- Bee Breath:
Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and ears with your fingers. Take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out making a humming sound of the bee which is smooth and pleasant. Keep the eyes closed and remain in silence paying attention to the sound echoing deep within. It helps to keep the mind calm.
3- Belly Breath:
Place your hands on your tummy and imagine that you have a balloon inside your stomach. As you breathe in, fill the balloon with breath. As you breathe out, deflate the balloon.
4- Bunny Breath:
Sit up tall and take three quick sniffs in through your nose like you are sniffing around for carrots, and one long exhale out through your mouth or nose. Bunny breath gives you energy.
5- Cactus Arms Breathing:
Sitting or standing tall, bring your hands to the sides at shoulder level with the elbows bent. Inhale while here. Exhale while bringing the elbows in front closing the arms and placing the forearms together. It has a meditative effect while opening the upper back and chest.
6- Candle Breath:
Sitting up nice and tall, you may close your eyes. Imagine a candle in front of you. Take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, blow the air out of your mouth in such a way that you make the candle flicker but not blow it out. This has to be really slow and gentle breathing. Imagine the flame of the candle moving in and out with each breath you take. Are you feeling calm and peaceful now?
7- Cookie / Hot Cocoa Breathing:
This breathing technique aims to teach deep breathing. Pretend that you are holding a hot cookie or a cocoa in your hands. You want to eat or drink it as soon as possible, but it is still too hot. To cool it down a bit, take a deep breath in. And blow on it with a long breath out. This long breathing can help your mind and body calm down.
8- Deep Sighing Breath:
The point of deep sighing is to calm your nerves enough so you can think more clearly. It helps the brain restore rational thinking, so you don’t end up doing something that will be more harmful than helpful. Crossing your legs, sit up tall. Inhale deeply through your nose. Fill your lungs with as much air as it can hold but be careful not to strain yourself. As you inhale, you may notice your chest and belly expand outwards. Exhale out through your mouth. Let the air out in one big, sigh. Exhale until you feel all the air has left your lungs. Repeat this cycle several times until you feel calmer and can think more clearly.
9- Dragon Breath:
Criss cross your fingers underneath your chin and bring your elbows together. Take a deep breath in and lift your elbows up like dragon wings by ears. As you breathe out, tilt your head back and let your elbows come back down while bringing fire out through your mouth. This breathing practise releases tension and calms you down.
10- Energizing Sun Breath:
Standing tall, inhale and raise your arms up above your head. And with three count of exhale of “ha” sound through your mouth, lower your arms down by your sides. Remember to lower your arms down in three parts. It is an energizing breathing technique.
11- Explosion Breath:
Start in a standing position. Breathe in as you crouch down. And then jump up, spreading your arms and legs as you breathe out.
12- Feeling & Sounding Breath:
Sitting tall and crossing your legs, place your hands on your ribcage. Inhale, feel your ribcage move and expand. Exhale, feel your ribcage close. Repeat this breathing exercise a few times. Then, cover your ears with your hands so you can hear nothing. You may close your eyes, as well to better focus. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Relax as you listen to the sound of your breath. Repeat sounding breath a few times. These breathing activities unites the mind, body, and breath and increases breath awareness.
13- Five Finger Breathing:
Hold one hand in front of you, fingers spread. Now, slowly trace the outside of your hand with the index finger on your other hand. Breathe in when you trace up a finger, and out when you trace down.
14- Flower Breath:
Sitting up nice and tall, your head rises up towards the ceiling. Bring both of your hands to your chest, touching your thumbs, pinky fingers, and the base of your palms (lotus mudra). Your fingers face up towards the ceiling, allowing them to open like a blossoming flower. Your hands are now your flower. Take a deep breath in through your nose at the center of your flower. Your flower smells so beautifully that you breathe out of your mouth making a sigh. Now repeat this for more times.
15- Fogging Glass Breathing:
Sit up tall with your legs crossed. Holding your hands in front of you, imagine that it is a mirror. Take a deep breath in. And breathe out through your mouth, trying to fog up the glass. Do you feel the warmth in your hands?
For the other 15 breathing exercises, please take a look at my store in Etsy!