Breathe How You Want to Be (Yoga for Emotional Regulation Pt. 1)

January 7, 2010

Scientists and leading educators are building a movement to encourage more emotional support in the classroom. As a yoga teacher, I could not be happier about that! Yoga, by it’s very nature, bolsters emotional awareness and aids in emotional regulation. Yoga provides an opportunity to become aware of our emotions, as well as tools to manage our emotional states.

The following activity can be done with children (and adults) of all ages:

Sit comfortably and quietly for a few minutes. Close your eyes and follow your breath in and out of your nose. Check in with how you feel, not your physical body sensations, but the feelings you have in your heart. How are you feeling right now? You don’t have to judge how you are feeling or tell anyone, so be honest with yourself. However you feel right now is absolutely fine.

Now, decide if this feeling is how you really want to feel for the rest of the day. If so, keep breathing into your feelings. If not, decide how you would most like to feel. Powerful? Healthy? Calm? Energized? Try to breathe in the way that you wish to feel.

Play with breathing in different ways. How do we breathe when we are angry? Sad? Excited? Tired? Confident? Notice how changing the way we breathe can change the way we feel.

Use your breath as a powerful tool to help deal with challenging situations. Remember, sometimes feeling sad or angry is just fine and your breathing rhythms can help you cope with stress during those times.

How do want to be? Try breathing that way!


3 Responses to “Breathe How You Want to Be (Yoga for Emotional Regulation Pt. 1)”

  1. I teach an activity that moves the breath in the lungs to different regions and changes the emotional response. First place a hand on the top of the chest, breathe into that hand (this results in short, shallow breathing, causing anxiety, fear, anger, etc). Next place a hand on the belly, breathe into that hand (this results in long, slow breathing resulting in calm, relaxation, peace). It is always interesting to be able to change how you feel by changing how you breathe.

  2. Lisa Flynn Says:

    Recognizing and experimenting with how breath can change our state of being is the most powerful awareness you can provide a child (or anyone!). Thanks as always for another great post!

  3. I’m totally supportive of this work.

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