Yogic Breath Awareness Meditation for Children - Yoga Practice Blog

How to Teach Yoga Breath Awareness Meditation to Children

breath awarenessBy Kimaya Singh

How should we teach breath awareness meditation to children? When teaching classes, almost every yoga instructor agrees that focusing on the breath is the easiest way to help students focus.  Depending on the age of the yoga student, teaching children to be aware of their breath can be just as effective as teaching the practice to adults. In fact, many mindfulness meditation programs start with breath awareness techniques. While some may consider mindful breathing to be a beginner’s method, it is definitely effective for all ages.

 

For children under the age of eight, this is an exercise that you will probably want to skip. While breath awareness is a structured exercise that allows kids to use their imagination (a vital part of designing activities for kids) the mental and spiritual aspects of breath awareness are beyond their abilities to comprehend. It’s better to get them in Shavasana (corpse pose) and have them relax gradually in body parts.

 

For kids over the age of eight, yoga has a number of fun and effective ways to help kids focus on their breath awareness.

• Guided Visualization: Just like with adults, instruct the kids to take about ten deep breaths. Then have them to imagine a place that feels calming to them, like a beach or a field of grass. As they imagine the calming place, have them “walk” through breath awareness.

• Rhythmic Breathing: The yoga teacher can use a musical instrument, like a hand drum to have the kids count ten breaths. The benefit of the musical instrument is that you activate several parts of the children’s brains while simultaneously teaching them how to relax.

 

• Imagination Bubbles: For older kids and teens, have them imagine each thought that comes up during the meditation as a bubble. Ask them to imagine that each thought is contained in a bubble, and it as it floats up towards the ski, imagine letting it go without judgment.

• Partner Breathing: For this method of breath awareness, have two kids sit back to back, and instruct one child to pay attention to how her partner’s body moves with the partner’s breath. The benefit of this method is that each child becomes aware not only of their and their partner’s breath, but they eventually relax while supporting each other, and in many cases their breath will eventually become synchronized.

• Rib Awareness Breathing: This method is particularly effective for preteen and teenage students. Have your students lie in corpse pose and ask them to place their fingers flat on their ribcage, fingertips touching. Tell them to monitor how their fingers separate and return with each breath in a nonjudgmental way.

Teaching yoga breath awareness exercises to kids is very similar to how we teach it to adult students. Depending on the child’s age, you may have to change the way that you teach yoga breath awareness, but it is especially effective for teaching to children to focus.  One of the first skills children take home from our yoga classes is the ability to concentrate, which leads to meditation.

 

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Do you want to become a mindfulness meditation teacher?

To see our selection of Yoga instructor courses and continuing education courses, please visit the following link.

https://aurawellnesscenter.com/store/

Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

 

Related Resources

The YOGA MIND:

52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz

RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE:

A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman

YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH

by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist: Ages 4–18, and 1991 Profile. Burlington, VT: Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont.

Achenbach, T. M., and Dumenci, L. (2001). Advances in empirically based assessment: revised cross-informant syndromes and new DSM-oriented scales for the CBCL, YSR, and TRF: comment on Lengua, Sadowksi, Friedrich, and Fischer (2001). J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 69, 699–702.

Achenbach, T. M., and Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.

Allen, N. B. (2006). Progress Report to the Beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence in Depression and Related Disorders. Parkville: ORYGEN with the University of Melbourne.

American Psychiatric Association [APA] (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th Edn, Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Ang, R. P., Rescorla, L. A., Achenbach, T. M., Ooi, Y. P., Fung, D. S., and Woo, B. (2012). Examining the criterion validity of CBCL and TRF problem scales and items in a large Singapore sample. Child Psychiatry Hum. Dev. 43, 70–86. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0253-2

Angold, A., Costello, E. J., Messer, S. C., Pickles, A., Winder, F., and Silver, D. (1995). The development of a short questionnaire for use in epidemiological studies of depression in children and adolescents. Int. J. Methods Psychiatr. Res. 5, 237–249.

Beauchemin, J., Hutchins, T. L., and Patterson, F. (2008). Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities. J. Evid. Based Complementary Altern. Med. 13, 34–45. doi: 10.1177/1533210107311624

Berubé, R. L., and Achenbach, T. M. (2010). Bibliography of Published Studies Using the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment, 2006 Edn. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.

Biegel, G. M., Brown, K. W., Shapiro, S. L., and Schubert, C. M. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for the treatment of adolescent psychiatric outpatients: a randomized clinical trial. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 77, 855–866. doi: 10.1037/a0016241

Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., et al. (2004). Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. 11, 230–241. doi: 10.1093/clipsy.bph077

Kirsten Rowe, Ruta Buivydaite, Torben Heinsohn, Mana Rahimzadeh, Ryan G. Wagner, Gaia Scerif, Alan Stein. (2021) Executive function in HIV-affected children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analyses. AIDS Care 33:7, pages 833-857.

Ria Mishra, Ramendra Singh, Saravana Jaikumar. (2021) Executive Functions of BoP Consumers: Research Propositions, Conceptual Framework and Implications for Marketing Strategies for BoP Markets. Journal of Global Marketing 0:0, pages 1-21.

Carolina Cruvinel Sandoval, Cláudia Maria Gaspardo, Maria Beatriz Martins Linhares. (2021) The impact of preterm birth on the executive functioning of preschool children: A systematic review. Applied Neuropsychology: Child 0:0, pages 1-18.

Maarit Lassander, Mirka Hintsanen, Sakari Suominen, Sari Mullola, Åse Fagerlund, Tero Vahlberg, Salla-Maarit Volanen. (2020) The Effects of School-based Mindfulness Intervention on Executive Functioning in a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Developmental Neuropsychology 45:7-8, pages 469-484.

Alicia Cooper Stapp, Kenya Wolff. (2019) Young children’s experiences with yoga in an early childhood setting. Early Child Development and Care 189:9, pages 1397-1410.

Andrew J. Campbell, Richard P. Lanthier, Brandi A. Weiss, Megan D. Shaine. (2019) The Impact of a Schoolwide Mindfulness Program on Adolescent Well-Being, Stress, and Emotion Regulation: A Nonrandomized Controlled Study in a Naturalistic Setting. Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling 5:1, pages 18-34.

Joanna Higgins, Raewyn Eden. (2018) Cogenerated understandings of mindfulness-based breathing in elementary mathematics classrooms. The Journal of Educational Research 111:6, pages 678-689.

Jeffrey R. Gagne, Ogechi K. Nwadinobi. (2018) Self-Control Interventions That Benefit Executive Functioning and Academic Outcomes in Early and Middle Childhood. Early Education and Development 29:7, pages 971-987.

Namarig Ahmed, Jasna K. Schwind. (2018) Supporting the wellbeing of inner-city middle-school students through mindful and creative reflective activities. Reflective Practice 19:3, pages 412-425.

Sean C. Lougheed, Diana A. Coholic. (2018) Arts-Based Mindfulness Group Work with Youth Aging Out of Foster Care. Social Work With Groups 41:1-2, pages 165-178.

Joanna Higgins, Raewyn Eden. (2018) Emerging understandings of mindfulness through experiential awareness. Learning: Research and Practice 4:1, pages 102-111.

Lisa-Marie Emerson, Georgina Rowse, Jennifer Sills. (2017) Developing a Mindfulness-Based Program for Infant Schools: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Effects. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 31:4, pages 465-477.

Amanda J. Moreno. (2017) A Theoretically and Ethically Grounded Approach to Mindfulness Practices in the Primary Grades. Childhood Education 93:2, pages 100-108.

Karen L. Thierry, Heather L. Bryant, Sandra Speegle Nobles, Karen S. Norris. (2016) Two-Year Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Program on Preschoolers’ Self-Regulation and Academic Performance. Early Education and Development 27:6, pages 805-821.

Elizabeth Willis. (2016) An empathetic beginning in education: exploring the prospects of self-regulation skills on pro-social behaviour in the early childhood environment. Early Child Development and Care 186:4, pages 662-670.

Elizabeth J. Erwin, Kimberly A. Robinson. (2016) The joy of being: making way for young children’s natural mindfulness. Early Child Development and Care 186:2, pages 268-286.

Dione M. Healey, Jeffrey M. Halperin. (2015) Enhancing Neurobehavioral Gains with the Aid of Games and Exercise (ENGAGE): Initial open trial of a novel early intervention fostering the development of preschoolers’ self-regulation. Child Neuropsychology 21:4, pages 465-480.

James Reveley. (2015) Foucauldian Critique of Positive Education and Related Self-technologies: Some problems and new directions. Open Review of Educational Research 2:1, pages 78-93.

Alison E. Parker, Janis B. Kupersmidt, Erin T. Mathis, Tracy M. Scull, Calvin Sims. (2014) The impact of mindfulness education on elementary school students: evaluation of the Master Mind program. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion 7:3, pages 184-204.

Paul Beljan, Kathleen D. Bree, Alison E. F. Reuter, Scott D. Reuter, Laura Wingers. (2014) Private Pediatric Neuropsychology Practice Multimodal Treatment of ADHD: An Applied Approach. Applied Neuropsychology: Child 3:3, pages 188-196.

Mariana Lozada, Paola D’Adamo, Natalia Carro. (2014) Plasticity of altruistic behavior in children. Journal of Moral Education 43:1, pages 75-88.

Nirbhay N. Singh, Giulio E. Lancioni, Alan S. W. Winton, Bryan T. Karazsia, Judy Singh. (2013) Mindfulness Training for Teachers Changes the Behavior of Their Preschool Students. Research in Human Development 10:3, pages 211-233.

Cynthia A. Riccio, Hilary Gomes. (2013) Interventions for Executive Function Deficits in Children and Adolescents. Applied Neuropsychology: Child 2:2, pages 133-140.

Timothy Sahaja Davis. (2012) Mindfulness-Based Approaches and their potential for educational psychology practice. Educational Psychology in Practice 28:1, pages 31-46.

Sunita Devi. 2022. Mindfulness in Education. Handbook of Research on Clinical Applications of Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Mental Health, pages 337-356.

Lindsey M. King, Carol Lewis, Donna M. Ritchie, Cary Carr, Mark W. Hart. (2021) Implementation of a teacher‐led mindfulness program in a low‐income pre‐ and early‐elementary school as part of a trauma‐responsive, resilience‐building community initiative. Journal of Community Psychology 49:6, pages 1943-1964.

Anna J. Esbensen, Emily K. Hoffman, Rebecca C. Shaffer, Lina R. Patel, Lisa M. Jacola. (2021) Relationship Between Parent and Teacher Reported Executive Functioning and Maladaptive Behaviors in Children With Down Syndrome. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 126:4, pages 307-323.

To see our complete selection of affordable yoga instructor certification programs, please click on the courses and products button in the navigation bar in the upper left section of this page.

https://youtu.be/ljQxIzUQihs

6 thoughts on “How to Teach Yoga Breath Awareness Meditation to Children”

Leave a Comment

Your Cart