Feb 03, 2022 • 5 min read
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel stressed? Chances are that your breath is shallow or rapid. Perhaps you even hold your breath and stop breathing altogether. On the flip side, how do you breathe when you feel relaxed? Chances are it feels deep and slow.
Our breathing and our feelings are intricately linked. Not only do stress or relaxation cause certain patterns of breath, but when you intentionally breathe in a certain way, you can cause the desired feeling.
Breathing exercises can help you relax because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. The benefits of deep breathing for kids (and adults) include:
Below are three simple breathing techniques you can use with your child or athlete to calm their nerves. Remember, getting nervous before a big game is completely normal. For more about dealing with anxiety, read the article, “How to Deal with Pregame Anxiety”.
Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress. Here’s how:
Box breath is a really easy breathing exercise for athletes of any age. It is called box breath because it has four equal parts: inhale, hold, exhale, hold. Start with one second each and gradually increase the duration as you get more comfortable with the practice. Here’s how:
One nostril breath is adapted from a yoga breathing practice called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. It takes concentration, so it’s best used with kids older than age ten. Make sure no one is holding their breath. Even if they mess up, be sure to instruct them to keep breathing throughout the exercise. It can get quite silly, so invite fun and lightness to the practice. Here’s how:
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Sarah Kostin is a freelance copywriter, published author, and former children’s librarian. With a background in yoga, mindfulness, life coaching, and ultramarathon running, Sarah has a passion for writing about fitness, mindset, personal growth, and overall well-being