When your baby was born the very first second; there was a breath. Life! Then there was the cry; the sound of life.
These two aspects of our lives, breath and sound, are the foundation in teaching a child the practice of yoga. Finding their breath and trusting the sound and words of their voice can be a fun exercise in finding out who they really are. Yoga provides a fun path in mirroring to children how special they are while building self-esteem and true confidence.
A child begins to trust themselves; remembering who they are under conflicting circumstances in their little tales of woes during the school day, on the playground; or in family relationships! (Watch Ganesha’s Belly Dance, A playful Sean Johnson music video shot at one of the most magical spots in New Orleans, The Tree of Life and Labyrinth in Audubon Park. Child yogis, an ancient and beloved tree, bubbles, dream elephants, and other surprises.)
Finding their breath is a practice that can be done in many ways. Linking their breath with their yoga poses builds a relationship between their bodies and minds. Their breath is the link to keep calm, and self-regulate their thoughts, emotions and feelings; all done by just breathing! “The combination of breathing exercises with asana helps develop body awareness, emotional balance, and concentration which increases their capacity for school work and creative play. Breathing known as pranayama in the yoga language of Sanskrit helps calm the nervous system, decreases stress, and improves focus and the ability to concentrate.” Mary Breath
The following are simple ways to breathe with your child
Chanting your Child’s Name: Inhale one big breath, and long exhale extending the sounds in the name using a full breath. For example, if your child’s name is Tony; inhale and exhale TOOE-NEEEEEEE. Fun and Laughter! This is a way to deeply connect with your child as you look each other in the eye with love (Aruna Kathy Humphries, Young Yoga Masters).
Bunny Breath: Take three quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out of the nose. Everyone can pretend they are bunnies, sniffing for carrots, other bunnies, grassy green fields, etc. Use your imagination as a family! This exercise clears a child’s mind, boosts energy. Bunny breath helps when they are upset and can’t find their breath. It helps children to connect to the exhale so that they can simply breathe.
There are numerous benefits that your child will receive when practicing yoga; living in mind-body awareness, the ability to regulate anger and negative moods, and improve relationships with parents. (*)
Breathing is Life. Breathing is Yoga.
Love and Namaste!
Charlotte Connick Mabry, RYT, RCYT
(*) Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Bess O’Connor, Lead Ayurvedic Therapist, Chopra Center
Charlotte a former professor at the LSU School of Dentistry, completed Soul School, a 200 hour registered yoga teacher training under the direction of Sean Johnson. In addition she has completed a speciality certification as a registered children’s yoga teacher, with Yoga Alliance under the direction of Aruna Humphries of Young Yoga Masters in Ontario, Canada. Charlotte feels yoga can help prevent those wounds that are found in childhood and feels her greatest gift as a teacher is helping children discover their “self-knowing within”, trusting and speaking it. “The miracle is watching them light up with delight when believing in who they are. Namaste!”
Check out Wild Lotus Yoga for a new summer yoga camp for kids 5-10 on the “Colors of Yoga”