Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #2- Mindful Breathing.
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about mindful breathing. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Practicing Mindfulness.
I’ve been practicing deep breathing for a couple years now. It started during my hypnosis training when I was becoming a Hypnobabies instructor. I’ve found many benefits to deep breathing including calming down when I’m upset, becoming more present, relaxing, falling asleep easier, releasing muscle tension and focusing. I use it before every workshop I teach, at bedtime each night and first thing in the morning when I’m practicing yoga or meditation.
I confess my mind still wanders quite often. I’ve found that it wanders on my inhale but not on my exhale. There seems to be a constant chatter in my mind which I have a difficult time silencing on the inhale but can easily blow away on the exhale. My mind often wanders to the things I need to get done that day, writing a mental to-do list. However, I have found with practice, that directing my focus back to my breath has become easier. I gently remind myself to simply allow those thoughts to float away with my exhale and that there is no need to attach myself to them at this time. This moment is for me. There is nothing else I need to do in this moment, nowhere else I need to be. I repeat again “I am breathing in, I am breathing out”. I return to my breath and I feel my shoulders sink down a little further and a nice wave of relaxation flow through my body.
As I mentioned, I’ve noticed many benefits for myself and wondered how this practice could help my children. Especially my spirited 4-year-old son, who is very sensitive and has BIG emotions which often result in BIG reactions. So I set out to teach him how deep belly breathing could help him feel better when he gets upset.
We’ve been practicing yoga together for a few weeks and we have tried several different breathing practices together. We have just been having fun with them, breathing together in different ways. I have also made a point of modeling deep breathing in front of him when I’ve gotten frustrated with him or my daughter. We’ve been talking a little here and there about anger and frustration and how breathing can help us feel better. And we watched this Sesame Street Video together. The catchy song about belly breathing is a fantastic way to help teach kids about emotion regulation.
Even my 20-month-old loves this video and will do the hands on the belly breathing with us. I suppose it’s never too soon to teach these skills.
We recently made these calming jars that we can shake when we are frustrated and watch all the glitter settle as we practice deep breathing. We watch and breathe; as the glitter settles so does our frustration.
He is beginning to recognize when I’m using deep breathing now and asks, “Is that our yoga breathing?” He is becoming more curious about how I handle my emotions; asking questions like “How are you not angry anymore?” I gently remind him when he is upset that he can use his yoga breathing if he wants. Slowly, gently and at his own speed he will begin to put these lessons into practice. The tough part for me is to not push too hard. There is no greater way to reduce interest in a 4-year-old then to make something no fun or to try to force it to happen on my time schedule. So I breathe deeply and remind myself to have faith; he is a smart, intuitive boy, he will find his way to his breathe when he is ready.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Just Breathe – Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week 2 – Katrina from Kalem Photography goes up against her incessant need to be busy.
Epic Fail — Peaceful Parenting Week 2 Challenge 2: Breathe – Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat wasn’t drawn to deep breathing.