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Keep them engaged at home with these immune-boosting yoga breaths

By Sabrina Merchant

‘Pranayama’ is an important component of yoga. In Sanskrit, ‘prana’ means vital life energy or breath and ‘yama’ means control. The practice of pranayama involves regulating breaths with different techniques. There are innumerable benefits: it reduces stress and blood pressure, improves the digestive system, helps you get quality sleep, helps the mind stay calm, helps with focus, concentration, and more.

Practising pranayama on a daily basis can purify the blood and boost immunity. The best part is, it can be done in the comfort of your home.

Children, in the current circumstances, are dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety and loneliness. These powerful breaths are soothing and can help clear their minds of any negativity; it also empowers them to handle emotions calmly.

Practise immune-boosting yoga breaths with your children by adding some of these fun breathing exercises to your fitness routine.

Take five calm breaths

Benefits: Helps you stay calm, focused, rejuvenated.

How to do

1. Stretch your hand out like a star.
2. Get the pointer finger of your other hand ready to trace your fingers up and down.
3. Slide up each finger slowly, slide down the other side.
4. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.
5. Put it together and breathe in as you slide up and breathe out as you slide down.
6. Keep going until you have finished tracing your hand.

Penguin Breath

Benefits: It energises and strengthens.

How to do

1. Interlace the fingers underneath the chin. Inhale and lift the elbows up to frame the face.
2. Exhale, lifting the head up making a whispered ‘hah’ sound towards the sky.
3. At the same time, lower the elbows to meet at the bottom again by the end of the ‘hah’ exhale.
4. This breath technique builds strength and heat, and is a good energiser.
5. It helps us feel less nervous and more charged when we are a bit tired.

Whale Breath

Benefits: It helps in keeping calm, and with anger management.

How to do

1. Place your hands on your head.
2. Take a deep breath in through your nose lifting your hands up.
3. Then exhale and bring your hand back to your head.
4. This is good for when you are feeling angry and need to calm down.

Woodchopper Breath

Benefits: It releases stress, and energises you.

How to do

1. Stand tall in Mountain Pose and take a few deep breaths.
2. Then take your feet mat-width apart (a little wider than hip-width). Clasp your hands in front of your body. Take a long breath in while raising your hands above your head.
3. Then, on a vigorous exhale with your mouth open, forcefully take your hands down between your legs. Hang your head and completely let go of all the tension in your body.
4. Close your eyes, if that feels comfortable, and repeat the steps. Let the children feel the effects of this energising breathing technique.

Ocean Breath

Benefits: It calms the mind, improves focus and concentration, and helps one sleep better

How to do

1. Start by sitting in the easy pose.
2. Close your eyes and bring awareness to your breath.
3. Take 2-3 deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.
4. Now, cup your palms and place them on your ears shutting out any other sound.
5. Every time you breathe out through your mouth, focus on the sound of the breath.
6. Does it sound like the waves of the ocean?
7. Repeat thrice and relax.

(The writer is the founder of Li’l Yogis, a certified Kids Yoga Expert and the author of ‘Ocean Yoga’)

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