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11 Breathwork Techniques That Will Help Your Children Thrive

“There’s no single more powerful or simpler daily practice to further your health and well-being than breath work.”-Andrew Weil

Breathing techniques have earned our reputation as 'the secret weapon' for personal growth, health, and well-being.

But did you know that these same techniques can be used by children to calm the nervous system and help them healthily express and process all of their emotions, from the small ones to the big ones?

In this post, I'll share with you a full list of breathing techniques that you and your children can begin benefiting from today.

I've written plenty of blogs that share a wide range of breathing practices, so what I'm doing is putting them all together on one big list for you.

Here they are.

Why Breathwork Matters

Breathwork is an essential life skill that often gets overlooked.

We take breathing for granted—after all, it's something our body does automatically without us even having to think about it.

But the reality is that our breathing patterns have a big impact on our physical and mental health.

By learning how to control their breath, children can improve their focus, concentration, and overall well-being. And what parent doesn't want that for their kid?

In addition to the physical benefits, teaching your kids breathwork can also help them develop a more positive outlook on life.

When we breathe deeply and slowly, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system—AKA the "relaxation response."

This leads to lower levels of stress and anxiety and creates a sense of calm and peace.

And who couldn't use a little more of that these days?

The 11 Breathwork Techniques

1. Heart Breathing

Heart breathing is a process of conscious breathing designed to reduce the intensity of a stress reaction and establish a calm, but alert state.

It was developed and brought to awareness by Heartmath.

As they write in this article,

“Heart-focused breathing is about directing your attention to the heart area and breathing a little more deeply than normal.

As you breathe in, imagine you are doing so through your heart, and, as you breathe out, imagine it is through your heart.”

It has many benefits and is a great practice anybody can do whenever you feel your stress buttons being pushed, but regularly even when you are feeling great.

It's super simple and your child will be able to pick right up on it.

Here’s a short video breaking down how to do it.

2. Mind-Shift Technique

Ever taken a nice long breath and felt relaxed after?

Specifically after a nice long exhale?

We all know how great this feels.

And it's actually an ancient Vedanta breath-work exercise.

Here is a simple breath-work technique as explained by Rajshree Patel in her amazing book, The Power of Vital Force.

“As you take a deep breath in through your nose, pause briefly when you reach the full capacity of your inhale.

After reaching the full capacity of your inhale, take a few more little sips of extra air in.

Pause and hold it all in for a moment before releasing fully through the nose.

Even two or three repetitions can instantly clear the mind and re-energize the system.”

3. Box Breathing.

Box breathing is a wonderful technique that is easy to use, and the effects are quickly felt.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Inhale for four seconds

Step 2: Hold for four seconds

Step 3: Exhale for four seconds

Step 4: Hold for four seconds

And then repeat this for a few cycles, I recommend 10 cycles to really bring yourself into a calm state.

The best part about this one is that you can do it when you are actively engaging in activities, like trying to attend to your upset child.

Here is a video that shows you how to do it:

4. Alternate Nostril Breathing:

A yoga-inspired breathing technique, alternate nostril breathing is very useful for calming the nervous system and relaxing you while being super simple to remember.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Put your right hand in the Vishnu mudra position by bending your pointer and middle fingers towards your palm, leaving only your ring finger, pinky and thumb extended.

It looks like this:

Step 2: Bring your hand up to your face and close off your right nostril with your thumb.

Step 3: With your thumb covering your right nostril, close your eyes or gaze downward and exhale slowly and fully through your left nostril.

Step 4: After fully exhaling, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on your left nostril.

Step 5: Begin inhaling deeply and slowly through your right nostril.

Step 6: Release your left nostril, place your thumb over your right nostril again, breathe in fully, and then exhale through your left nostril.

Repeat this process for 3 rounds minimum, more if needed.

The entire time you alternate nostrils like this:

Here is a video walkthrough:

5. Roll Breathing

Another great technique I love is the roll breathing technique, which you can do easily sitting or standing up, although I recommend when you are learning it to lay down to familiarize yourself with the rhythm.

Here's how to do it.

6. Diaphragmatic Or “Belly” Breathing

When you’re stressed or irritated in some way, you are likely doing what we call, “chest breathing,” meaning you are taking shallow breaths.

Chest breathing turns on the sympathetic nervous system response, or your “fight or flight” mode, which is the exact mode we are working to not fall into with these techniques.

So belly breathing is great because it turns on your parasympathetic response, one that is conducive to well-being.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Either sitting up, standing up, or laying down, start by placing one hand on your stomach.

Step 2: Inhale through your nose, breathe from the stomach, making sure you feel it rising.

Step 3: Exhale through pursed lips, focusing on the stomach lowering.

Step 4: Repeat five cycles minimum, more if needed.

Here's a video walkthrough:

7. Bhramari Pranayam Breathing

A ayurvedic breathing technique that can be done in a short amount of time to bring calm and rebalancing sensations.

Here’s how to do it 👇

Put your thumbs in your ears.

Cover your eyes with the rest of your fingers

Inhale through your nose

Make a “buzzing” sound as you exhale that creates a vibration through your ears.

It looks like this 👇

And here is a video showing you how to do it.

8. Ujjayi (Darth Vader Breath)

Another ayurvedic breathing technique that is great for moving “Lifeforce” through your body, which has long-term health benefits a this keeps your nervous system flowing coherently.

Here’s how to do it 👇

Inhale and exhale through the nose making a slight snoring sound with a light constricting of the upper throat and soft palate.

Perform for ten breaths for a maximum of ten minutes.

Here is a video showing how to do it:

9. Active Nose Breathing

Active nose breathing is a great way to stay centered as you move.

As you are walking take long and slow deep breaths.

Increase the length of your exhale as you walk, using your steps to measure how long the breaths are.

Count your steps when exhaling and aim to exhale for 10 steps.

10. Dirga Pranayama (Abdominal breathing)

Dirga pranayama is a cooling and calming breath that balances the nervous system.

It's a great breath to practice if you're feeling stressed, anxious, or frazzled.

Dirga pranayama is also helpful in clearing the sinuses and promoting healthy digestion.

Here's a step-by-step guide 👇

1. Find a comfortable seat.

You can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, or in a cross-legged position on a yoga mat or pillow. Make sure your spine is nice and tall. Rest your hands in your lap or on your knees with your palms up.

2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose to help you relax.

3. Place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your heart.

4. inhale deeply through your nose, filling up your belly first, then your chest. expanding your rib cage as you breathe in.

5. Exhale slowly and completely through your nose, drawing your navel towards your spine to empty out all the air in your lungs.

6. Continue breathing in this way for 5-10 minutes. Make sure that each inhale and exhale is slow, smooth, and deep. Just focus on your breath and let everything else fall away.

7. To finish, take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose and open your eyes when you're ready.

Here is a video walkthrough:

11. Lions Breath

1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your eyes closed.

You can sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.

2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Begin to inhale deeply through your nose, letting your stomach expand first, followed by your chest.

Fill your lungs with as much air as you can without straining yourself.

3. Exhale slowly through your nose, focusing on emptying your lungs completely.

As you exhale, stick out your tongue and let out a "ha" sound. Try to exhale for twice as long as you inhaled.

4. Repeat this cycle of deep breathing for 3-5 minutes.

Here is video walkthrough:

In Conclusion:

If your children know how to do breathwork, they will have a tool that they can use for the rest of their lives to help them cope with their emotions in a healthy way.

When you teach your children breathwork, you are giving them a gift that will keep on giving for the remainder of their life.

The benefits of breathwork stretch far and wide, which is exactly why we teach children how to use this powerful tool inside of Zamio.

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