Yoga Breathing at Beansprouts

You may have heard about (or seen) your child taking "yoga breaths" at Beansprouts.  Sometimes we use yoga breathing to re-center, start our yoga practice or to do something calming with our bodies.

A yoga breath is when we inhale, bringing our hands above our heads, and exhale, bringing our hands back to our heart.  We make yoga breathing into anything we want.  Sometimes our arms become the sun going up and the moon going down, or they become a big cookie or balloon...but it has the same effect.  It is a real and sincere thing we do just for ourselves.  Sometimes just the act of reaching over our heads can be a child wake up, it's often the first thing they do.

I was inspired to write this post after reading this post from Om School.  She talked about her daughter waking up afraid in the middle of the night when the cat knocked something over.  Her daughter told her that when she listened to her breath, she heard her heartbeat slowing down.

Yoga breathing is a tool to bring the awareness inward, which is a skill I constantly try to habituate with the children.  I choose my wording and handle situations with the knowledge that some day, the child's sole guide will be their "inner voice".  Short (very short for preschoolers) periods of silence and reflective breathing help to bring that awareness inward. 

This is also a way that I try to tune children in to their own spirituality, which in my opinion is something deeply personal and is driven by an innate inner wisdom.  Getting in touch with an individual sense of "who am I" and an internal sense of direction is a precious gift, considering how many of us were raised to constantly look to external sources of guidance and validation.  Maybe they will carry this forward into life, maybe not.  But it's my small contribution.

On a more physical note, this is the most yoga-enjoying group of kids I've ever taught.  They love it, do it spontaneously, and contort their bodies in a way that is truly brag-worthy.  I always trust that yoga is a way to meet their physical and cognitive needs, that it is a way to express what's inside and also to move and do what preschooler bodies were meant to do.

I occasionally see children implementing the yoga breath in times that they need it, with no prompting from me.  Yesterday was the second time I saw a child take a yoga breath to calm herself before naptime.  Taking a breath can be a self-regulatory tool for ourselves.  Sometimes I have to pause and take a moment before responding to a child (because an instant response can easily come out as a reaction rather than an appropriate response).   Seeing kids use breathing to relax themselves gives me hope that some of the tools they learn at Beansprouts will be applied to life, outside of circle time.



  1. Self-regulation is the greatest predictor of how a child is going to do in school. IQ is irrelevant-Stuart G. Shanker, research professor of psychology & philosophy. at York University & a leading figure in neuroeducation. (11:44!)

  2. Hayley is lucky to have you in her life!


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