Mindful breathing for kids, teens and the young at heart

Mindful breathing for kids, teens and the young at heart

It’s kind of obvious why breathing is a thing. We wouldn’t last for long if we didn’t, right? Try and stop breathing for a minute or two and see how you feel.

Breathing is an incredible function that your body performs without thinking about it. We take breathing for granted whereas we should appreciate it. 

 

“Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life.” Giovanni Papini

 

Imagine proper breathing

You’re probably thinking WT? “I breathe every day TeeJay, is that not proper breathing?’ 

Actually, it might not be and that’s because many of us take quick shallow breaths. When you pay attention to breathing in and breathing out you can appreciate the sensation of oxygen filling your lungs.

If you focus on breathing with intent you can use it to your advantage. 

 

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey

 

Breathing exercise benefits

In the last couple of blogs you read about mindfulness and meditation.

I shared links to guided meditation sessions and relaxation exercises. These techniques need you to focus on breathing ‘in the moment’ and help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Breathing is super important because it keeps you centred.

You can practise breathing exercises at any time to re-energise or reduce stress. Focused breathing finds calm and regains control. As you build a habit of deep breathing you give your immune system a boost and detox your body at the same time. It’s a win-win!

 

“Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself.” Carla Melucci Ardito

 

Exercise: Breathing techniques for kids, teens and the young at heart

There are four methods of breathing listed below.

Have a play and choose your preferred method. Practise your technique often, enjoy it and have fun.

 

Breathing technique 1: Square breathing

You can often find square breathing taught in yoga classes. It’s a great technique to use when you need a moment to focus your mind. Or to calm down after an upsetting or conflicting situation. 

Find a piece of paper or notebook and something to draw with. If you can’t find anything to draw on, close your eyes and picture a square in your mind. 

Begin to draw the square by starting at the bottom left corner of the paper. As you draw breathe in as your pen or pencil travels all the way up the left side of the square to the top left corner.

When you reach the top hold your breath as you draw the top line of the square until you reach the top right corner. Now breathe out as you travel down the right side of the square to the bottom right corner.

Now, hold your breath again as you draw the final line along the bottom of the square back to the bottom left corner. 

How did you do?

Let’s do it again … to the count of four.

Breathing technique 2: Balloon breathing

This method of breathing is fabulous for releasing tension and stress from your body.

I like this one because you gain the benefit of taking in deep breaths and it’s fun! When you smile, you release extra endorphins (natural feel-good vibes). This makes you feel happy and excited.

Sit back and relax. Close your eyes and as you breath in, imagine blowing up a balloon inside your belly. The balloon can be whatever colour you choose – red, green, blue, pink. 

Hold your breath as you reach the peak of your inhale. As you blow out your breath imagine the balloon deflating. Hear the squeaky sound and visualise the balloon whizzing around inside your belly.

How do you feel? Did you find that funny?

Let’s do it again … to the count of four.

 

Breathing technique 3: Nostril breathing

The nostril breathing exercise is good at bringing energy into your body. It can help to give you a sense of clarity, but a word of caution – you might want to practise it alone first. Rehearsing it in class might draw some unwanted attention to yourself! 

Another word of warning before you start. If you feel a bit congested or snotty, go and blow your nose before starting. It could get very messy otherwise!

Once again, relax. Hold your thumb over your left nostril to close it and take a long deep breath in through your right nostril. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds as you come to the end of the inhale. Then use your index finger to close the right nostril.

As you do this, release your thumb from the left nostril. Breath out fast and strong through the right nostril. 

How did that feel? Did you make a mess ϑ ?

Let’s do it again … to the count of four.

By now you should feel amazing. Clear, focused, alert.

 

Breathing technique 4: Fogging the mirror breathing

The fogging the mirror breathing technique is great to destress! 

As with nostril breathing you might want to practise by yourself at first. 

Hold the palm of your hand towards you, a little distance away from your mouth and nose palm, and pretend it’s a mirror. 

Breathe in deep and slow and hold your breath as you reach the end of your inhale. Tighten your stomach muscles and breathe out fast and with force. Imagine you are fogging that palm mirror with your breath.

Make a whooshing sound as you breath out to increase the impact.

How do you feel?

Repeat this breathing technique about eight times. Feel the stress leave your body. You should feel amazing and super relaxed.

Breathing exercises have many benefits. They are quick, effective and do-able any time you need to take back control and calm your emotions. 

Take around five minutes to practise each day and see how good you feel. 

 

“The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe.” Terri Guillemets

 

Choose the life you want to lead

Proper breathing is one of many methods you can use to help you feel more balanced and in control of life. A five-minute breathing meditation is a micro habit. Build it into your routine every day.

Connect with the Back on Track Teens community to engage with other teenagers. Shares ideas about how best to use simple breathing techniques.

Until next week, stay calm and practise mindful breathing for kids, teens and the young at heart!

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