This is not a simple pranayama (breath exercise) just to calm the child. This breath, when adopted as a daily routine, impacts the formation of the brain, the immune system and the self-identity of the child. It is the best tool to give to a child to respond with equanimity in front of stress.
This simple breath calms children, sends oxygen to their brains and is like a sweet and joyful reset button that can be used at any time during the day.
How to teach this breath to children:
- Have children sit in easy pose (legs crossed on the floor, spine straight) or they can sit in a chair (feet flat on the floor, spine straight). It can also be done when the child is in motion, like walking.
- Demonstrate the breath for them. With little children, you can begin by stating, “Show me your nose.” Or ask, “Do you have a nose?” They will be happy to show you! For older children, you can ask them to bring their awareness to their nose by breathing in and out through it.
- Breathe in two short breaths and breathe out two short breaths in the following pattern, “in in, out out; in in, out out…”
- Continue this for 3 minutes. For very young children, one minute might be plenty.
This breath can be practiced on the way to school or while waiting for the school bus. It can be practiced before any new events or activities. Educators, this is a great one to use during transition times. You can have the children use this breath as a pause to prepare for the new activity. The breath will calm and clear their minds and bring them back into their bodies.
And please, remind the children to smile often! The smile educates them that they are resilient and reminds them to be kind to themselves. The smiles connects them to the simplicity of their hearts, where their true natures lies.