Here is a question for you: How many times a day do you hold your breath?
For most people, the answer is around 20. Surprising, right? Sometimes people do it when:
- Concentrating really hard (remember taking tests and concentrating really hard as a kid?)
- In frustrating situations (those times when your heart beats fast and it's hard to articulate anything in the heat of the moment)
- In athletics (remember hitting your "wall" and your breath becomes shorter and shorter?)
- In emotional situations (think of crying really hard and how we gasp for air)
And here is another interesting fact. We only use about 25% of our lung capacity on a daily basis. Eeeek. Considering that not breathing properly can often lead to sleep issues, poor focus, low energy, headaches and even anxiety. Oh my.
Now, consider that our kids are doing this too. Our kids are expected to concentrate, work through frustrating situations, perform in athletes and deal with emotional struggles -- just like us. Maybe on a different scale, but just...like...us.
In Butterfly Kids Yoga classes, we ALWAYS open up with breath work for this very reason. It can range from calming belly-breaths, to energizing-breaths, to focusing breaths -- all geared towards helping kids create focus, re-energize and calm down. Because yoga is that unique form of exercise that forms a connection with the breath. Exercise and proper breathing? A win-win.
Here's a great technique to try at home (we do this in class).
- Place both hands lightly on your belly. Exhale ALL the air out through your nose.
- Now inhale (through the nose) slowly with your hands and belly moving outward.
- Exhale again, all of that air. Inhale slowly. Keep moving your hands with your breath, up and down, up and down.
- NOW you’re breathing – this is belly breathing. It’s the first way many students new to yoga are introduced to "calming" breath work.
"One hand on your heart, one hand on your belly," I will say to the kids. And they do. They find their own sense of calm and just BREATHE.
PS. Find this week's classes on our Classes Page here. And don't forget about our Adult class on Tuesdays @ 6PM (Michelle Gipner will lead this week's open-level adult class). Suitable for all yoga levels!
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