One thing that you and I have in common is that we breathe. It’s a function we all do and we really don’t have to think about it. However, sometimes you just need to stop and really feel your breath. You just need to take a moment and pause to listen to your heart beat as you inhale and exhale. When you take a moment to stop and become aware of your breath, you become happier and more relaxed. Life flows so much better when you are relaxed and happy.
Balloons are like reliving childhood days. They remind us of birthday parties, festivals, carnivals and now, in my kids yoga class they remind kids to breathe.
So what do balloons and breathing have in common with kids yoga? The obvious…First of all kids love balloons and second of all it is a great way to practice being mindful of the breath. Kids need to be taught breathing techniques that are powerful in helping them to relieve stress, but also fun and creative at the same time. They don’t necessarily blow up balloons on their own at a young age, but balloon breath teaches them how to center in on their core and use their lung capacity to breathe more powerfully.
Benefits of Balloon breathing:
Fills the cells with oxygen and recharges the battery, which signals the body that all is well.
Balloon breathing is fun, powerful and simple. All you need is a balloon and a child with the willingness to blow up a balloon.
Try it with your kids, in a kids yoga class or even by yourself.
(NOT FOR KIDS UNDER 4. I SUGGEST THEY BE SUPERVISED BY AN ADULT)
Here’s how it goes:
-1 balloon per kid
– Ask the children what they think balloons and yoga have in common. You never know what you’ll get. For example, I had a little 5 yr old tell me it would strengthen her. I encouraged her that her response was correct because it strengthens the lungs and the belly.
-Sit in easy pose (or what a kids yoga teacher might call ‘cris-cross applesauce’ )
-Start blowing up the balloon. You don’t necessarily have to encourage them quite yet to blow up the whole balloon. For some kids it is difficult to blow up a whole balloon, so encourage them to try their best, then stop and start over. Encourage them to pause and notice their lungs and belly. You may even have them point to their belly button just to get a feel for this part of the breath.
You may even remind them that lungs are like balloons inside of them.
You could say ‘As you breathe in, you fill up these balloons with fresh air and energy. As you breathe out, you empty the balloons of old air and energy.’ quote from Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
In a kids yoga class setting, it’s best to practice this exercise at the end of class. You don’t want to distract them from other activities you may have had planned that doesn’t involve balloons. Also, considering germs, I bring extra balloons so that I can blow up a balloon for the ones who can’t do it themselves.
*THE ABOVE IMAGE WAS TAKEN FROM colorandcollage.blogspot.com