POSE OF THE WEEK - BALLOON BREATHS
Sometimes the simplest things can bring about great change and inspire deep calm and mindfulness. This is certainly true about balloon breaths. Balloon breaths encourage deep breathing which helps to calm the nervous system quickly and easily. The way we do them in Shakti Kids Yoga classes also incorporates a well-established grounding technique of focusing on a color. Balloon breaths do not require any special equipment and they are simple to work into a classroom routine or pull out of your childcare toolbox at a moments’ notice.
How do you do it?
Here is an example of how we do them in Liz's kids and family yoga classes (and how my family often does them at the dinner table):
Person 1: “What color do you want your balloon to be?” or “What color balloon do you want today?”
Person 2: “Today, I want a green balloon!”
Person 1: “Okay, let’s do a green balloon! Ready?”
Then, we mimic a big, round balloon filling up. First, we drop both arms to our sides and next we inhale deeply, slowly raising our arms over our heads until our hands touch at the top. Finally, we “Pop!” the balloon and then release our arms back down while exhaling slowly.
This can be repeated over and over again until you feel more calm or feel like stopping.
Have a hesitant or shy kiddo?: Start doing balloon breaths with another adult or just narrate it yourself.
Add a think-aloud to get things going: “I’m feeling a little bit (mad/frustrated/tired/sad, etc) and I want to do some balloon breaths to help me (calm down/feel better/feel like myself again).”