Yoga for Kids: Pinwheel breathing

My daughter has been in yoga for kids for over a year with a wonderful instructor. I always get the most excited reactions when I tell people this. Oh, my kids could use yoga! What a good idea! I should be in yoga myself!

A lot of us feel we would benefit from some sort of yoga (if we can find the time!); however, our kids can benefit from these practices also. So I thought it might be helpful to share a few yoga techniques here on the blog for readers who want to try them their kids. Krista, the wonderful teacher I mentioned above, graciously offered to author this post. I know you will enjoy this! IMGP5205 ”Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around. Look at my Pinwheel and see what I’ve found.  Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been? Hello, how are you, and may I come in? Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around. Look at my Pinwheel and see what I’ve found. Pinwheel, pinwheel, breezy and bright. Spin me good morning and spin me goodnight.”

Those lyrics are actually the theme song from a TV show, Pinwheel, that aired in the late 70’s and early 80’s on the Nickelodeon channel. I was a carefree tween back then with no worries and very few distractions in life. It was days …or should I say years (gasp!) before computers, cell phones and video games. With the fast paced world of today, kids probably relate more to the movement of a pinwheel ‘spinning from morning to night’ instead of the breezy and bright pinwheel that we would like them to be. IMGP5210 Yoga is a great tool for parents to use to help their child calm the mind and any anxiety in the body. Breath focus is a fundamental exercise in a yoga practice and all classes begin and end with the breath. The top picture shows the start of my yoga kids class as we use a pinwheel for a breathing prop. We inhaled slowly and deeply through our nose and then gently exhaled through our mouth to make the pinwheel spin around.

After repeating seven times, you could definitely see the effect of the breath oxygenating the organs and muscles, as well as soothing the central nervous system. The kids were ready to continue on to the warm up poses. They were more focused and quiet than when they came into class. IMGP5211 However, you don’t have to be in a yoga studio or even taking yoga to breathe and enjoy the effects. Breath work can be done anywhere – home, car, airplane or even standing in a store’s check-out lane.

Here’s a fun trick. Next time you are in a store with your child and go to check-out – look at the lane number and have your child take that many slow and gentle inhales/ exhales. In yoga, we want to make children aware of the power of their breath without boring them. Have fun and explore opportunities to use breath work with your kids and maybe they will blow you away with their peace, love and happiness!  

Krista Fox, YKA, is a yoga for kids instructor in the western suburbs of Chicago.  

Yoga for Kids: Pinwheel breathing

Have You Seen This? Time Timer

IMGP5160

Hurry up! We’ve gotta leave in 10 minutes…

We’ve said these words approximately 7.5 billion times (just an estimate) to our children. And yet they seem to hear the following words instead, “just keep on doing exactly what you’re doing, don’t change a thing and eventually I’m gonna stop talking and leave the room.”

Can I get an amen?

And if you have kids who deal with attention, focus and/or anxiety issues, it feels like everyone’s blood pressure skyrockets even more at those time sensitive points like getting out the door for school or making it to an activity on time.

Something that was recommended to me awhile back and I’ve since shared with other parents is the Time Timer. Unlike other timers, it has a red display that slowly winds down, offering a visual cue for kids. If I set it on the breakfast table, my daughter can look at it and see the time actually winding down. If she gets distracted in a book while eating her cereal, she can look up and realize – hey, I gotta get moving.

It’s difficult for kids to understand the difference between 10 minutes and half an hour. It all sounds like the future, it all sounds like not right this instant. After all, no one is yelling yet!

Now I’m not claiming that your household will magically transform if you start using something like this; however, I do believe it’s a useful tool to be aware of. Some kids go with the flow better than others. Mine need lots of cues.

Is there anything you’ve started using that has helped your kids and improved family rhythms? I’d love to know!

Note: We do not receive any compensation for mentioning this product, it’s simply something our family uses and enjoys and we feel like sharing. 

Have You Seen This? Time Timer