By Jeanne Welsh
How can there be an advancement in human development when challenges such as anxiety, obesity and addiction already plague our youth?
Now, more than ever, is the time to inspire children and teens to learn new techniques so that they can improve their ability to take personal responsibility and make better life choices.
Most of us use only a fraction of our total lung capacity throughout our lives. We start forming the habit of shallow breathing early on in our childhood years, and it can lead to a litany of issues, ranging from chronic anxiety to compromised bodily functions. Parents, teachers and counsellors often have to address the consequences of what could be remedied through regular breathing activities.
One conscious breath has the ability to relax us both physically and mentally. It can mean the difference between responding and reacting, and assist us in detaching from negative emotions before they are expressed in destructive ways. For children, learning to harness the power of the breath can assist them in feeling okay in the face of unknown outcomes; understanding and accepting the consequences of their actions; improving their concentration and confidence; and of course being more present in each moment. Just imagine what a lifestime of conscious breathing exercises might achieve!
If you’re on a chair, sit as tall as you can. If you’re on a mat, lie down on your back.
Softly close your eyes and place both your hands over your tummy.
Close your mouth and breathe through your nose, while imagining you’re
breathing through your tummy (as if you’re blowing up a balloon).
When you’ve reached your capacity, breathe out through your nose – keeping your eyes and mouth closed – and imagine letting all the air out of the balloon.
Next time you breathe in, try lifting your hands off your balloon belly a bit, creating a little space between your hands and belly. As you breathe out, bring your hands gently back to your belly as the balloon is deflating.
Whenever you feel like you don’t have the answers, or that you are being ignored or annoyed, take a few balloon breaths and let those feelings go by breathing them out of your belly.
When you’ve inhaled and exhaled five deep breaths with your eyes closed, place your hands on your heart and send loving thoughts towards yourself and all those around you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeanne Welsh is the founder of Yoga for Kids Bali, which offers online courses on teaching yoga, mindfulness and breathwork to children and teenagers. Visit www.kidsyogacourses.com or contact [email protected] for more.