Have some fun with deep breathing today and teach your child ocean breathing, otherwise known as ujjai pranayama in the yogic traditions. It is known as the ocean breath because of the ocean-like sound made in the back of the throat while breathing in and out. It helps your child to slow down the airflow, allowing for longer, deeper, slower breaths. This in turn, gives the body a chance to use more oxygen since the breath is slowed.
Call this practice ocean breathing to give it a fun image while trying it out. It is a centering breath because it provides a focal point. Your child’s focus is reigned in as she concentrates on the sound emanating from the back of her throat. It is the perfect one-minute relaxer that can be done anywhere.
Explanation Ideas and Steps:
(Suggested supply: hand held mirror)
First, explain to your child that you are going breathe making the sound of the ocean. Invite her to think about the ocean while you are practicing. Start with a little visualization. Take a moment to close your eyes and see the waves crashing on the shore, listen to the sound of the surf upon the sand.
- Start by holding the hand held mirror in front of you, (or hold your hand up, palm facing inward, holding a pretend mirror if you don’t have a real one). Take a full breath in, breathing slowly and allowing the stomach to expand while you inhale. Then exhale, forcing the air out like you are trying to fog up the mirror. Allow the back of your throat to constrict, just slightly to make the “haaaah” sound while exhaling. It might sound a bit like hissing. No need to push or force, just allow. It should be very soothing, sounding like the roar of the waves upon the sand. Repeat this practice several times.
- Once your child understands how to make the sound through her mouth, she is ready to try it while inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Inhale through the nose, gently constricting the throat and passage of air. Pause. Exhale, gently constricting the throat and pushing the air back out. Pause.
- Remember to exhale as long as possible and pause slightly after the exhale if possible. This allows for ultimate relaxation within the body.
After you have learned the breath, you might want to play some ocean sounds on your ipod/iphone while you are doing it, (See Nature: At the Beach on the downloadable free mobile app Relaxation Lite, Silent Island, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/silent-island-relaxation-lite/id299531614?mt=8).