Surprisingly, not many of us breathe properly. But if you knew that breathing properly could help you to sleep better, give you more energy, improved health, less anxiety and less fear then you’d want to start learning.
To get the best out of our breath we should be ‘belly breathing’ where your breath reaches all the way down to your belly and you feel it inflate when you inhale. We should also breathe in through our noses. Mouths are for speaking and eating!
What if we could teach our children these tools so that it was ingrained in them making them happier and healthier adults. If children in your life can learn now how to calm themselves with playground or exam angst now, imagine how much better they will be at dealing with stress as an adult. It will also help focus them, calm them, energise them and help them deal with adversity. It will help them to feel better mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Below are some breathing games to play with the kids in your life (or just by yourself!)
There are lots of different breathing games you can play. Just a few minutes a day will have a huge impact on your child.
Ping pong balls
Ask your child to lie down on their tummy with their hands by their chest (they are not allowed to use their hands!) roll some ping pong balls towards them and get them to blow them to you. You could also see if they could blow it into a cup. Why not create a competition with their friends or siblings.
Straws and pompoms
Use straws to blow pom poms across the floor!
Experiment with paper, foil and plastic windmills. How fast can they get their windmill to go?
Have a collection of brightly coloured scarves. Children can hold the scarf by their face or place it over their heads and blow. They can then scrunch the scarf up in their hands, throw it as high as they can and then keep blowing it to keep it off the floor. Time them and see how long they can do it for!
Move and breathe
This could be anything from walking while breathing through nose counting breaths with each step or raising arms up to inhale, arms down to exhale or putting them in a yoga pose and asking them to take five deep breaths.
A lovely calming exercise and wonderful before bedtime. Get your favourite lotion and place some on their hands. Do a simple hand massage, rubbing palms, pressing fingers etc and as they do this ask them to close their mouths and only breathe through their noses. Notice as they concentrate how their breath slows.
A fun breath game is to pretend to be different animals. Ask children to breathe in deeply through their noses and then as they breathe out they have to make the animal sound. For example, breathe in and exhale hissing like a snake. Other animals could include a bee, a lion, a cow, panting like a dog, the list is endless!
The ideas really are endless but even just sitting with your child for a few moments and just focusing on breath together can have a big impact.
Jodie is passionate about alternative health after it changing her life when she was young. This continued into a yoga practice which led her to give up her career as a Primary School Teacher to teach yoga and mindfulness to children. She then certified in Zen Yoga, to share her passion further. She works with the body’s energy channels assisting students to release physical and emotional blockages. She also uses her artwork as a form of personal meditation and tries to lead a spiritual life. Her ethos is that Yoga and other alternative therapies are about being in tune with your body, healing, letting go and above all, being happy. You can find out more about her over on her website or on instagram or facebook