One of my new favorite items to use in teaching kids yoga is the Breathing Ball or Hoberman Sphere . It provides a great visual for teaching kids to slow down their breath, and take long and even inhales and exhales. We also talk about how the Breathing Ball is similar to the the work our lungs or diaphragm does.
How to Use a Breathing Ball with Children:
- As a teacher or leader, model using it together as a whole group. As you stretch the ball out, take a deep long breath, together as a group. Then as you squeeze the ball together, let out a long deep exhale. You can experiment with the pace and show what happens when we breathe in and out too quickly. Talk about the difference in how your body feels when you take short quick breaths compared to long deep breaths.
- If it is a smaller group, pass the ball around the circle and let each child take turns opening and closing it in time with their breath.
- The ball is also fun to toss around the circle as it opens and shuts. Have the children participate in a team building and cooperation exercise to see how many times they can catch the ball without it dropping. This is also a good exercise in building mindfulness.
Get your own Hoberman Sphere to use.
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Begin with Breath
Breathing Exercises For Kids
Let’s begin with breath. Why is breath important? Deep breathing helps calm us if we’re nervous or anxious. With yoga it helps us hold the poses longer and center ourselves. This is especially important for kids who are maybe nervous or anxious at home or at school. We’re going to show you some kid-friendly ways to practice breath work from our kids’ yoga teacher training.
We’re going to learn eight breathing techniques that kids can remember and use in the home, at school, any time they’re feeling anxious, nervous, or upset. So why is breath important? Deep breathing helps calm us if we’re nervous or anxious. With yoga it also helps us hold the poses longer and center ourselves. I’m going to teach you some fun kid-friendly ways to practice that deep breathing and breath work.
First is our Belly Breathing. You can place your hand right on your belly and go ahead and breathe in and breathe out and you can actually feel the breath moving inside. Another fun way to do it that kids love if they know each other is lay on their tummies and breathe deeply and see if they can feel their friend’s breath work as well.
Next is Window Fog. Pretend like you’re trying to fog up a car or maybe you’re stepping outside in the cold air and you’re kind of seeing your breath. Go ahead and breathe deeply in and out as hard as you can. Put your hand there so you can feel your breath moving.
Blowing out the Candle is especially fun too. Put your index fingers together and then you’ll breathe in then and breathe out as if you’re blowing out those birthday candles.
These Breathing Balls are another great visual to see your breath actually working. The training video shows you how the ball expands and decreases. Kind of how your diaphragm would work with your breath.
Feathers are a great tool for breath work as well. You can blow your feather up and down your yoga mat. You can blow it across the room. These are inexpensive ways to actually see your breath in action.
Pinwheels are another great resource. You can take it outside, you can take in the house and practice blowing it fast or blowing it slow. You can practice different ways of utilizing your breath.
Bubbles are a great way too to see how your breath is actually working.
Finally, we must remember Sun Salutations. These are important with yoga to connect this movement of reaching up high to the sun and then diving forward towards your toes. Go ahead and breathe in as you rise up and exhale as you fall down. That really helps you connect the movement with the breath and really warms up your whole body.
Ready to dive deeper with teaching yoga and mindfulness to children? Learn more about our online Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training here.
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