Welcome to your first week of breathwork. Please be reminded that the School Breathe programme runs best on Google Chrome. We hope you enjoy this weeks introduction to breathwork.
A healthy breath should always be whereby the lower belly is rising and expanding softly on the inhalation. This indicates that the diaphragm is working to its optimum level. When we breathe in the diaphragm should descend (imagine an umbrella upside down slowly opening) creating a soft rounding of the belly. It’s best to practise full diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, at least two or three times a day. Always breathe in through the nose throughout your day. A nasal breath is a healthy way to breathe as the filtering system within the nasal cavity helps protect the body’s immune system.
• Builds breath awareness
• Brings children into the present moment
• Cultivates healthy breathing habits
• Boosts immune system
• Encourages a ‘belly breath’
• Calms the nervous system
Tweak the Technique
Tuesday: Breath Exploration: Place one hand on the lower belly (below the belly button) and the other hand on the upper chest. Close the eyes if this is comfortable. Take a few breaths here and notice which part of the body is moving more? If the upper chest is moving more on the inhale, you can be an “Upper Chest Breather” If you are a “Lower Belly Breather”, the belly will rise more as you breathe in. Encourage the children to focus on their lower bellies when they breathe. They can say in their minds “My Belly Glows” as they breathe in.
Wednesday: Are the children breathing in through the mouth or the nose? A quick check in. Place both hands on the belly and close the eyes if this is comfortable. Take a few breaths here. Is the breath entering the nose or the mouth? Ask the children to close their mouths (many maybe mouth breathers – this is an unhealthy way to breathe!) and take 5 – 10 breaths through the nose only. Now check in if the jaw is clenched when the mouth is closed (also very common) Allow there to be space between the top teeth and bottom teeth but keep the lips closed. Take another 5 breaths here. In through the nose. Out through the nose. Slow the breath rate down. Belly rising on the inhalation. Remember. Always breathe through the nose. They can say in their minds “My Nose Knows”
Thursday: Counting the breaths. Can the children find out how many breaths per minute they are taking? Time them breathing for 1 minute and ask them to count how many breaths they take ( 1 x inhale plus 1 x exhale = One Breath). Notice how many different breath rates there are. Smaller lungs will take more breaths. Now ask them to see if the can slow the breath rated down for the next minute. n.b If the children are too young to count their breaths, simply ask them to slow the breath down so as they breathe in, ask them to breathe in for a little longer and as they breathe out, ask them to breathe out for a little longer.
Friday: Yes it’s Friday! Let’s do some shoulder shrugs to shake off the week and move our shoulders up to our ears in time with our breath:
Breathe in through the nose: Raise the shoulders up to the ears
Breathe out through the nose: Relax/drop the shoulders down
Breathe in through the nose: Raise the shoulders up the ears
Breathe out through the nose: Relax the shoulders down
Repeat 3 more times. Then close the eyes, place the hands on the belly and take 5 slow belly breaths. Breathing in through the nose, belly rises. Repeat in your mind. “My Nose Knows”. “My Belly Glows”.