3 Beginner Friendly Breathing Exercises (Pranayama)

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

Breathing is one of our most vital functions as a human being. While we do it every second of every day, how often are you mindful of your breathing? If you barely consider it, how often do you think a six year old is thinking about their breath?

Below are three easy breathing exercises to introduce the concepts of mindful breath. You can incorporate them into yoga classes, bedtime routines, or just for fun! Different breaths serve a different purpose, so try them out and find what feels right in your body!

  1. (Breath + Pose) Snake Breathing: With snake breathing, you get the added bonus of practicing a yoga pose! Starting on your stomach, lift your body into Cobra pose. At the top of your Cobra pose, pause and breathe out slowly making a "hissing" sun door as long as you can. Tell your students they should try and hiss for "5 seconds," counting for them. Then lower yourself down and pretend you're a snake in the grass. Tell your students they have to slither (rocking back and forth) very quietly so no one can see us!  Repeat this breath 2-5 times. See if your class can make our snakes hiss longer each time we lift our bodies up!

  2. (Energizing) Bunny Sniffs: You can sit either cross legged or on your shins with your body straight (cue zipper exercise here if you class enjoys it!). Now pretend you're a bunny taking a big sniff, between 3-5, one after the other. Next, exhale in a long and slow release. If a class is very high energy, you can incorporate this breath into movement! Instead of sitting, take a bunny hop for each inhale, then stop when you exhale.

  3. (Relaxing) Buzzing Bee: Focus on taking a deep inhale in; as you exhale, "hum" like a buzzing bee. To incorporate movement, ask students if they want to make "bee wings" (similar to butterfly pose). A variation of this breath is to ask students to cover their ears, touch your lips, etc.

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