“By balancing your breathing, you can control your emotions and calm your mind. From the quiet mind arises the wisdom and insight that help you make good choices.”
According to the most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (2000): 3 million people suffer from anxiety in the UK. I am one of these people. My own personal yoga and mindfulness practise helps me to keep symptoms in control and breathing exercises play such a large part of this. I feel so thankful that, as an ambassador, I am in a position to share this simple technique not only with children in my own classes, but also with parents and teachers; so that they can benefit from it and share it too.
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
- By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, muscles are relaxed.
- Improved oxygen delivery results in a rise in energy levels and greater focus.
- Breathing deeply releases endorphins, inducing a feeling of calm.
- When inhaling and exhaling deeply, the body releases toxins.
- It is FUN!
So, you see, it really is a fantastic all round activity to be doing! Magically, the more frequently children practise breathing exercises; the more awareness and understanding they have on how breathing in different ways affect their bodiesand emotions differently. Children will say things such as “I feel really focused now and ready to learn!” or “That makes me feel relaxed!” How wonderful!
In getting children to connect with their breath; we are also giving them an insight into how they can control their physical body and their mental attitude. As they grow and mature, they will use these skills in their everyday life. Breathing exercises help the to control the fight and flight center.
Using Breath in the Classroom
As an experienced class teacher, I understand how hard transitions can be in schools. Many children struggle to move from a high energy task to a more focused lower energy activity. This is one of the ways in which Mini Me Yoga can be so powerful. During the workshops, delegates learn how to use breathing exercises, along with other aspects of the program, to help children with these tricky times. This is a really gentle form of behaviour management, which both reduces conflict and helps restore calm within the pupils and teacher. Win – win!
In Mini Me Yoga’s breathing games, it is a time when children learn to connect with their breath and feel empowered by their ability to control it. There is something very special about a group of children all breathing together!
Breathing games or exercises can be used in a fun and playful way. When we teach children these skills we are giving them a gift: a skill that they can use throughout their life to help them control their emotions and regulate their brains and bodies in a healthy way.
Take a Breath
So now you know some of the wonderful benefits of breathing exercises, why not treat yourself and take a few long, deep, luxurious breaths… How does that feel?
Julia is a children and families’ yoga teacher living in Coventry with her husband, two children and cat. She runs weekly parent and baby, parent and toddler and after school yoga classes as well as regular family workshops and adult Mini Me Yoga workshops.
As an experienced primary school teacher, Julia feels that pupil wellbeing is vital. She looks forward to bringing yoga and mindfulness to many more children in 2019 by training staff of schools and nurseries as a Mini Me Yoga Ambassador in Coventry and Warwick.
You can contact Julia here: