I like to practice breathing like a snake with students at school. To begin, I ask them what kind of snake they would like to be for the day. I get all kinds of fun answers like cobras, pythons, boa constrictors, and rattlers. The other day, one student was a Pueblan Milk Snake. That’s one I hadn’t heard before! And, after class, I went to look up a picture on the web. Nice looking snake.
When we sit down in group, I explain that we are going to relax like a snake today. I explain that the goal is to see how long you can hiss, allowing your lungs to empty out completely.
I ask them all to sit either criss cross applesauce or on their knees, with palms on their knees. Then, we place one hand on our tummies so that we can feel our lungs and our diaphragm as we breathe. Next, they begin the inhale, slowly breathing in and filling the lungs from the bottom up. Finally, they slowly hiss out the breath, seeing how long they can exhale.
We follow the snake hiss with the yoga snake pose, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjMH2sFXwtc). Slowly, after asking permission if they would like it or not, I apply deep pressure and gently press a “snake stripe” down their back on each side of the spine (careful not to apply pressure directly on the spine), stopping just before the waist line.
Enjoy relaxing like a snake in the grass!