Yoga and Mindfulness for children.
10/13/2023 0 Comments
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic
The nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic system is responsible for the "fight or flight" response, which is triggered when we sense danger (real or perceived). This response can cause anxiety, stress, and other challenging emotions. The parasympathetic system is responsible for the "rest and digest" response, which helps us relax and feel calm.
Supporting your child
To support your children's nervous system health, it is important to engage the parasympathetic system through relaxation techniques. This can include simple exercises like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga.
These practices can help your children feel more grounded, centered, and focused.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that is made up of two words: prana and yama. Prana means life force or breath, while yama means to control. Together, pranayama means the extension or control of your breath.
Pranayama is an essential part of yoga practice, and it involves various breathing techniques that help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall well-being. Practicing pranayama helps to regulate the breath and enhance the flow of prana throughout the body. This, in turn, can help to improve the functioning of various bodily systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
In children's yoga classes, we often incorporate simple pranayama exercises to help children relax and focus. We may use techniques such as deep breathing, belly breathing, or alternate nostril breathing to help children connect with their breath and find a sense of calm and balance. By practicing pranayama, children can learn to manage their emotions, increase their self-awareness, and develop healthy habits for body and mind.
So, how can pranayama help us shift into the parasympathetic response? It's all about that good ol' oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. When we take slow, deep breaths, we're increasing the amount of oxygen in our bodies and decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide. This triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us relax and de-stress.
But wait, there's more! Pranayama can also help regulate our heart rate and blood pressure, two things that are often elevated during times of stress. By practicing pranayama, we can train our bodies to respond in a calmer and more controlled way to stressful situations.
So, there you have it - pranayama isn't just about taking deep breaths and feeling relaxed (although that's certainly a perk!), it's also about training our bodies to respond in a healthy and balanced way to the ups and downs of life. So the next time you're feeling stressed or anxious, or need to help your child with big emotions, take a deep breath together and know that you're doing your nervous system a world of good.
Here is a simple breathing exercise to try with your children.
This practice can have multiple benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. Firstly, it can help you to relax and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. By focusing on the sensation of holding the dandelion and watching the seeds float away, you can take your mind off of any worries or concerns you may have, allowing you to feel more calm and centered.
Close your eyes if you would like to and imagine that you are holding a dandelion in your hands. It is white and fluffy. Notice its shape and how it feels in your hand. Take a big breath in through the nose and then slowly and gently blow the dandelion until each seed floats away with the wind. Take a few natural breaths here as you watch them float away into the distance. Open your eye if they were closed and notice how you feel. You may even choose to pick another imaginary dandelion to repeat this activity.
This is just one of the practices I have included in my latest Freebie - 5 Practices to calm
the body and mind.
By incorporating these simple exercises into your daily routine, you can help support your children's nervous system health and overall well-being. Remember, it takes time and practice to develop these skills, so be patient and consistent with your efforts. Your children will thank you for it!
Grab your free Pranayama Guidebook here > 5 Practices to calm the body and mind.
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