April 2, 2013

Yoga for SoothingFinding Tranquility with Belly Breathing

Winding down after a long day may be easy at times for adults but I have found it can be a challenge with my little ones if we do not approach it with a gentle bedtime routine.  There are some wonderful yoga techniques that you can use to assist your child in settling in to bed, letting their body and mind calm and drift away to sleep.

In this post I want to introduce you to the “belly breath” or as some children like to say “balloon breathing.”

Have your child lie on their back, gently close their eyes and place their hands over their belly.  Let them settle in here for a moment. Fidgeting will probably happen, and let that naturally occur.  Even as adults on our most rested day we tend to still fidget when the mind and body are first encouraged to relax.  Ensure your child is dressed comfortably and is at a comfortable temperature (ie: do they want blankets or no? socks?)

With a soft voice ask your child the questions below, allowing for pauses and reflection.   Ask your child to try not to talk but to think about them inside their mind.

1. Are any parts of your body moving?

*most likely some part of their body will want to move, fidget, fix their hair, scratch an itch, etc.  Try not to draw attention to it or dwell on any movement. This question is more to get your child to scan their body and begin to understand that if they quiet their mind and focus on one thing (ie: is their body moving) they can begin to control their movements and thoughts.

2. Do you feel your belly and hands rising and falling with each breath?

3. Can you try to make your belly rise up even more?

4. Can you try to make your belly rise up very slowly and rise down very slowly?

5. Imagine your belly like a balloon. Try to blow up your balloon very slowly and very big and then let all the air come out of your balloon.

6. As your belly rises and falls imagine many balloons floating around in the sky.  Notice their colours. Notice if they are flying high or low.

7. Encourage your child to continue filling their belly slowly with the breath as you speak in a soothing and soft voice.  You may find your child is more responsive to this technique at first if you introduce it during the day and/or you participate with them.

May your breath be calm and slow and may many zzzzz’s come your way!



 Amanda Degrace - Little Lotus YogaAmanda DeGrace, President & Founder of Little Lotus Yoga.  When she is not sharing her love for yoga with others she is at home snuggled with her 2 year old boy and 11 month old baby girl.  Follow her on twitter at @amandadegrace or on Facebook.