During Lazy Lizards Yoga, we always do breathing exercises, or in Sanskrit (the language of yoga) pranayama. An easy way to introduce deep breaths, is to use a breathing ball. It helps kids find the relationship of how the breath works inside the body. When the ball expands breathe in, as you breathe in your oxygen fills up the lungs and the belly and makes them bigger, just like the ball, and as you breath out, as the ball gets small your lungs and belly get smaller, or contract, depending on the age of the kids. Holding the ball and expanding and contracting the ball slowly will help the kids to slow down their breath. Explain how taking slow breaths can help us feel renewed when we are tired and can also help when you are feeling angry or sad. Once the children start to get it, have them close their eyes, and ask them how it may feel different, encourage them to imagine the ball expanding and contracting in their own bodies. I also have the kids pass the ball around, because they always love to touch and feel, with everybody breathing along when it is somebody else’s turn, breathing as slowly or rapidly as the ball is moving.
Here’s and example how we use the breathing ball in our kids yoga class:
There are many benefits in teaching our children to take deep breaths during times of stress, and anger. It gives them a “time out”, so to speak to restart . It also helps focus their minds. Have your child start deep breathing exercises at an early age to carry with them as a tool to use for their entire lifetime. At first they just might say it makes them feel better, but with practice, they will learn to use it when they need it during their day, when Mom or Dad are not around.