It’s been about two weeks since the kids went back to school, and with Back to School also comes a whole new sense of Busy. Even for moms who work all summer with kids off to camp or babysitters, the slower summer schedule is gone and things really ramp up with school, homework and extra curriculars. As crazy as that gets for parents – playing chaperone, chauffeur and teacher/tutor – we have to stop and think about the change for our children as well.
Do you remember being in school? The trivial drama with friends that seems like the most important thing in the world? Stress to do well on tests? To keep up in class when something just isn’t clicking for you? Running from chores and homework, to practice, to hurry up and get ready for bed? Being young can be hard, stressful and overwhelming.
That’s why our theme in my kids yoga classes for September is Back to School – and I arm the kids with their Back to School Toolbox. Inside our toolboxes are three breathing techniques to tackle the stress of school, and more. Practice these at home with your kids – and arm them with simple tools to stay cool, calm, and collected when they need it most. These techniques are great for us adults as well, so I hope you find ways to incorporate them into your daily routine!
P.S. – Scroll down past the video to read more about the techniques. The video here is for the third exercise – which is the least simple, but also one of the most effective!
1. Release Breath – Take a deep breath in and exhale out with an audible sound, like you are blowing out a cake full of candles. This breath is great for getting out nerves and anxious energy. Getting up to speak in front of class or stepping up to the plate in kickball can cause anxiety, and the release breath is a great way to let it go and approach the task at hand with a clear head.
2. Take 5 Breath – Inhale deeply and slowly counting from one to five by lifting one finger at a time on the left hand. Then exhale slowly – counting from 1 to 5 – lifting one finger at a time on the right hand. Continue five times – in for 5 and out for 5. This breath helps clear the mind. Maybe something happened at lunch with friends and they are having a hard time focusing on school work when they get back to class. This is a perfect tool to put to use to re-focus the mind on classwork.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing – This one is a little more complicated, but is amazing at centering the mind by balancing the right and left sides of the brain. Point the thumb and pointer finger, close the right nostril with the thumb and breathe in through the left side. Pause. Close the left nostril with the pointer finger, and breathe out through the right side. Breathe in again through the right side. Pause. Close the right side with the thumb, and breathe out through the left. Complete a full cycle – in, pause, switch, out, in, pause, switch out – several times. This one is a great way to start the school day or center the mind before a big test.
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips. For more ways to bring yoga with kids into your home, check out my children’s yoga blog, The Playful Practice.