Surviving the holidays one breath at a time: Super simple breathing practice for you and your children!

Sometimes vacation or holiday time sounds like fun but if you’re a parent you know that just means multitasking various experiences so that hopefully everyone can all their needs met. Or at the very least the kids are happy and you might get a hot cup of coffee and some downtime in between excursions!

In the Kundalini yogic tradition they say the first 120 seconds upon waking set the tone of your day! How do you wake up? Is it with a deep breath and gratitude for another day, then some light stretches? Amazing, I wish I was you.  Or is it with someone calling your name from a room down the hall, or putting their face in your face asking you for something? If the first 120 seconds are difficult to bring yourself into an elevated state here are some very simple practices you can start or end the day with or at any moment that can bring you and your family into a mindful space together. And it’s realistic. 3 minutes, that’s all it takes to start a practice. I find sometimes my daughter (who is 4) and I can extend this to 10 or 15 minutes and sometimes we can’t. Pranayama practices, which means extending vital life force, are breathing practices that can easily and profoundly change your state of being. So set a timer and do your best!

3 minute Breathing Practices:

TO ENERGIZE: Dog Breath or Panting Breath

*Optimizes the immune system

*Release toxins held in the blood

*Builds abdominal muscles

*Relieves fatigue

Find a comfortable seated position; straighten your spine

Open mouth and let tongue hang out 

Start to pant

Place hands on your stomach so you can feel the rhythmic pumping that happens 

Don’t go too fast and get tired quickly, find your rhythm

If your mouth gets too dry close it and breathe through the nose continue to pump belly; similar to breathe of fire

To end: Inhale and exhale 3X normally

Observe how you feel

Extension Practice: Cat and Cow  26X

TO CALM AND COOL TENSE MOMENTS: Straw Breath (Sitali Pranayama)

*Cools and calms the nervous system

*Reduces agitation, anger and anxiety

*Can improve focus

*Cools excess heat in the body

*Gives you vitality and strength

Find a comfortable seated position with a straight spine

Hand can rest in your lap on in Gyan Mudra (thumb and pointer finger touching)

Stick out your tongue, if you have the genetics that allow you to curl your tongue into a straw like shape then do so; if not just let the tongue rest out slightly on the lower lip

Inhale slowly through the “straw” tongue ( retract tongue and close mouth for exhale)

Exhale slowly through the nose

To end: Close the mouth and breath normally for a few breathes

Notice how you feel

Extension Practice: You can do this practice in a few rounds while holding cobra pose. Lower in between rounds

TO CALM AND FOCUS: Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breath)

*Connects right and left brain hemispheres 

*Reduces anxiety

  • Creates a sense of calm 

Find a comfortable seated posture with a straight spine

Bring right hand in front of your face and make a peace sign (thumb holds the ring and pinky finger down)

Bring your index finger to your right nostril and close it off, Inhaling through your left nostril slowly (Count 4 or use mantra Sa Ta Na Ma)

Use middle finger to block left nostril as you exhale through right nostril

Then inhale through right nostril then block right nostril as you exhale through left nostril

Repeat

To end: Drop the hand and breathe normally for a few rounds.

Notice how you feel

**(If this feels too complicated for younger children you can try doing a minute inhaling and exhaling through only left side- calming, moon energy and then switch to right side- energizing, sun energy)**

FOR THE 5 and under crowd

Balloon Breath

Find a comfortable seated position with eyes closes

Inhale slowly  through your nose and raise your arms up as you fill your belly imagine it like a big ballon

Exhale your arms down towards your heart as your belly contracts like a shrinking balloon, you can add a ssssssssssssss sound like air deflating 

If you enjoyed this practice or realized your kids are in need of some more resources check out the upcoming BIG FEELS YOGA AND MINDFULNESS SERIES for 7-10 year olds at The Healing Collective. h

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