Heading back to school can bring up a whole bunch of emotions - excitement, anticipation, and sometimes, anxiety. If your child is feeling some back-to-school jitters, here are two simple breathing techniques that can help your child to feel a little more calm and peaceful:
1. Air conditioner breath (sitali breath) - lots of kids love curling their tongues, so if that is a favorite activity for your child, have them curl their tongue as they imagine sucking in through a straw (there will be a little sucking noise while they're doing this) and then breath out slowly through their nose. Tell them to feel the cool air on their tongue as they breathe in (that's why I call it "air-conditioner breath"). Breathing in this way slows down the breath, which promotes a relaxation response in the body, it also produces a cooling sensation which can be helpful as kids can often feel warm or flushed when they're feeling nervous.
2. Starfish breath - have your child stretch out their arm in front of them and spread their fingers like the shape of a starfish. Have them take the pointer finger of their other hand and trace up and down each finger slowly. Each time they trace up, breathe in, each time they trace down, breathe out. Instruct your child to do this as slowly as possible. Breathing in this way puts your child's focus on the action of looking at their hand and tracing instead of getting caught up in anxious thoughts and slows down their breath which promotes a relaxation response.
Both of these breathing practices can be done at home, school, or any time your child needs to feel a little more calm and peaceful inside. These and other breathing exercises are taught in our before and after-school yoga classes for kids!