5 Breath Exercises For A Calm Christmas

Dec 17, 2023

We all know this time of year can bring a heightened sense of anxiety, pressure and overwhelm, for both adults and children.  Here are some top tips from School Breathe's breath coaches to sprinkle a little calm over the next few weeks.  

Incorporating these breath exercises into your day can provide relief from holiday stress and anxiety, but also contribute to long-term well-being. Consistent practise of breathwork has been associated with numerous benefits, including improved sleep, enhanced immune function, and a greater ability to cope with the challenges that the holiday season may bring. As you navigate the festivities, consider these breathwork techniques as powerful tools to foster a sense of calm and balance.

1. Candle Breathing (for adults): This time of year is a great excuse to light a candle or two (soy or bees wax candles are best for breathing air with no pollutants) and we can breathe with them too.  Place a candle in a safe place and sit quietly for a minute or so, simply observing the movement of the flame as it dances with the changing air. Now place your hands on your lower belly. Breathe slowly through the nose for Breathe out through the nose slowly for Repeat for a few more rounds, keeping a gentle gaze on the flickering candle. 

Benefits: The extended breath out will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, helping your system feel calm, and the focus on the flame will quieten the mind. 

2. Hot Chocolate Breath (for children) 

Great for children to use their imaginations here or for them to practice a little mindful breathing before they enjoy a hot chocolate, or any hot drink! The extended exhale invites a sense of calm and ease and the nasal breath inhalation helps promote healthy breathing habits.

3. Boxing Day Breathe

A super effective, scientifically proven breath exercise which can help both adults and children feel calm and focused. The breath count helps our minds feel quiet, the conscious gently breath pause either side of the breath in and breath out produces Nitric Oxide which helps lower blood pressure, improve circulation and lower cortisol levels. All essential for the holiday season.  

4.  Bee Breath

Sometimes our minds can be a busy place – often buzzing with thoughts, dreams or worries and during the holiday season we can be surrounded by friends and family but not really ''bee' there'. Our minds can take us away from the wonder around us.  This breath practice will make us feel focused and present. The best place to 'be'.

This breath technique is called the ‘Bee Breath' because you are going to imitate the hum of a busy bee with your own breath and vocal cords.

Firstly, we will practice this with our eyes open. This will help you to familiarise yourself with the instructions, then when you are ready and feeling comfortable, you can close your eyes to make the experience a little more special. The humming vibrations will boost feelings of calm and can focus and quieten the mind.

  • Raise the hands to face and elbows level with the shoulders. Use the thumbs to close the tragus of both ears (the little flap at the entrance of the ears) and when comfortable with the exercise you can place the middle and index fingers gently over closed eyelids.
  • Bring the tip of the little fingers under the nostrils, feel the breath entering and leaving the nose. Tune into the inner sounds of the body. Can you hear a beating of the heart? Apply a little more pressure with the thumbs over the ear 'tragus to block off a little more external sound. this will help you  pick up on any of these internal murmurings.
  •  Take a few rounds of slow breathing here in and out of the nose
  •  Breathe in. Breathe out
  •  Breathe in slowly for a count of 4 or 5
  •  Keep the mouth close with space between top and bottom teeth (jaw is relaxed) as you exhale, make a soft “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm” sound. This should sound like a buzzing bee. Feel the vibrations in the nasal cavity, throat and head.
  • Repeat for 5 more breaths. Notice any quietening of the mind.

5. The Three Wise Gonk Breathe

If you simply don't have anytime for a stand alone practice (we totally understand) there are 3 golden rules to breathing you can follow to help you feel calm, centered and joyful. Here are the 3 School Breathe Golden Rules for breathing well. Breathe through the nose. Breathe with the belly. and breathe slowly. Here are the three wise gonks to help you breathe well throughout the holidays.

Wishing you a wonderfully calm couple of weeks ahead.  

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