by Nabanita Dutt
Practice `Belly Breathing’ Yoga With Your Children
Breathing yoga is a self-regulating and heart-brain connecting discipline that children can be taught from an early age. Like brushing their teeth before going to bed, breathing exercises can become a daily habit that they continue benefiting from for the rest of their lives.
How do belly breathing exercises help?
Belly breathing – also known as `diaphragmatic breathing’ and `abdominal breathing’ – has an incredible impact on the mind and body on multiple levels. Typically, we take our breathing mechanism for granted, because we don’t have to do it deliberately. We `shallow’ breathe during our waking hours, and that limits the range of motions that the diaphragm can perform. The lowest part of the lungs doesn’t get a full share of oxygenated air, and therefore cannot circulate it through our brain and body.
The practice of conscious, belly breathing floods our body cells with 50x oxygen and after a session of deep and controlled respiration, we feel wonderfully uplifted physically and mentally.
Belly breathing is also a practice that involves focus. Emptying the mind of random thoughts and directing our attention to an object or simply the rhythm of our breath. By guiding the mind into such a state of stillness, we release stress and chronic negative ideation, and re-set the emotional dial. Coming out of a focused, belly breathing session, our mood shifts dramatically and we’re spiritually balanced and pumped up with feel-good hormones.
Alas, the feeling does not last indefinitely. We invariably allow the next lot of life challenges interfere with the balance we have just accomplished – which is why belly breathing has to be practiced daily for continued mental housekeeping.
How To Use A Heart-Love Plushie For Belly Breathing With Children
Mental chatter is a hard thing to control. Adults have to practice emptying the mind of thoughts regularly, and with every session, they get better and better at it.
For kids, the idea of focusing is hard to understand because they don’t necessarily get the theory behind it. A Heart Love Plushie is an incredibly effective tool to teach them mind-focusing without them having to fully understand the whys and wherefores of what they are doing.
Step # 1:
• Let children lie down comfortably on the ground or on a yoga mat with arms by the side and legs stretched and uncrossed.
Step # 2:
• Place the Heart Love Plushie on their belly.
Step # 3:
• As they take deep conscious breaths, ask them to watch the Plushie as it rises and falls with each inhale and exhale. Tell them to only watch the rise and fall of the Plushie, and not think of anything else.
Step # 4:
• Practicing belly breathing with a Heart Love Plushie has a hypnotic effect on children after they have kept their eyes and mind on it for a couple of minutes. They inhale and exhale deep enough for the exercise to be effective because they are fixated on the pillow’s up-and-down movement.
Step # 5:
• Do deep belly breathing with the Plushie for about 3 minutes to begin and then extend the time for as long as the kids can go in one session. Ten to 15 minutes is a very optimum range you can aspire to after a few weeks of practice.
Join the children, instead of just conducting their session for them. Place your own Heart Love Plushie on your belly and get the healing benefits for yourself too, as you encourage the kids to carry on with the session.
Step # 6:
• Follow up the belly breathing session with the `I AM’ session described elsewhere in this section. The kids are already calm, focused and spiritually ready for the “I AM” affirmations to easily channel themselves into their subconscious minds at this time.