Humans can survive several days without food and water, but only a few minutes without breathing. So, breathing is essential to life. Besides being essential to life, conscious breathing can be used to successfully treat or prevent numerous health issues. Wanitha Ashok, the renowned fitness expert from Bangalore, says, "Breathing during exercise increases uptake of oxygen and is considered good for the lungs and the heart." Such breathing is known as ‘breathwork’. It is a therapy that involves utilising breathing exercises to improve health. Let’s take a look at a few breathing exercises that your child can do anywhere and reap the benefits.
Bumble bee breaths or Bhramari pranayama
The term Bhramari pranayama is derived from the Sanskrit words Bhramara, which means bumble bee, and pranayama, which means breath control. The exercise is named so because, during exhalation, the sound resembling the buzzing of a bumble bee is produced. This exercise helps to calm the mind and improves memory and concentration. Wanitha endorses the fact that breathing nourishes all the organs of the body including the brain. This results in improved academic performance in children. It is also good for disorders of the thyroid gland.
How to do it:
- Sit comfortably with the legs crossed and shoulders relaxed.
- Then cover both ears with the thumbs and both eyes with the index fingers of both hands.
- Now breathe out slowly, making a low humming sound.
Repeat steps 2–4 five to ten times.
Want to know what asanas you can practice with your child? Click the article below.
Hissing breaths or Seetkari pranayama
This exercise is named Seetkari pranayama because of the hissing sound (seee) produced while performing it. It keeps the teeth and gums healthy, and promotes mental relaxation and tranquillity. It should not be performed by those who wear dentures or have sensitive/missing teeth, asthma, bronchitis, tonsillitis, heart disease, and excessive mucus.
How to do it:
- Sit comfortably with the legs crossed and hands on the knees.
- Hold the upper and lower teeth lightly against each other.
- Open the lips and expose the teeth.
- The tongue may be kept flat or folded against the soft palate.
- Now breathe in through the gap between the teeth.
- Close the mouth and bring the tongue back to the normal position if folded.
- Exhale slowly through the nose.
Repeat steps 2–7 eight to ten times.
This exercise helps to recover from morning sluggishness.
How to do it:
- Stand with feet wide apart.
- Inhale through the nose, raising both arms up with fingers interlocked.
- Exhale through the mouth while dropping the arms.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 three to four times.
No time to exercise? Check out 8 super yoga poses for busy moms in the article below.
Children love to keep bunnies as pets and this exercise involves breathing like rabbits. Ask your child to quickly sniff three times and then exhale once through the nose. This exercise helps an upset child to calm down.
Children like to smell flowers, and you can use them to teach your child flower breaths. Give your child a fragrant flower and ask him to breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. You can give him flowers like daisies or roses. This exercise helps to relieve tension. However, be cautious if your child is allergic to pollen.
The mind, body and breath are very closely connected and deeply affect each other. By teaching our children to breathe consciously, we can help them positively influence their minds and bodies.
Hope you liked this article. To get expert tips and read interesting articles on a wide variety of parenting topics, subscribe now to our magazine.