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Digital Subscriptions > OM Yoga Magazine > June 2017 > BELLY BREATHING


Belly breathing for children is an essential skill that we should be teaching our young, writes Sarah Tucker

“Close your eyes. No peeking. And place your hands on your tummy. Your l eft hand. And then your right hand on top of your left hand. Sit up straight, shoulders back. Eyes closed. No peeking. Now take a deep breath. Now breathe out. Now take another deep br eath in. And breathe out. Now listen to your breath as though it’s a whisper you are trying to understand.”

This is how I start my yoga class, teaching a group of 30 four-year-olds how to breathe each Thursday morning. It is wonderful. Okay, not quite bliss, but close. They are sitting up, lifting from the base of their spine (although they have to ask what a ‘spine’ is) and their shoulders are back, neck long, chin up. Their mouths are closed (this is the difficult bit) and their eyes are closed (the easy bit) and they are listening to the music I play every week. The teachers are nearly in tears because their class sound and look like angels. For those few minutes anyway. Welcome to the world of teaching children how to breathe.

I started to teach children how to breathe properly as part of the process of introducing yoga into schools. Yoga is, after all, about listening to the breath, something that is often forgotten in the gymnastics of the asanas. Currently teaching in Surrey and south-west London, I’m hoping to get more funding for schools under the mental heal th issue. And yoga - with its ability to help children focus and manage stress, anger and loneliness - plays a proactive role when everything else in the education system seems to be designed to aggravate stress or whittle away self esteem.

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About OM Yoga Magazine

In this issue of OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine we’ve got lots of great ideas and inspiration to keep your practice fresh and alive on the mat. We’ve got our regular 360º Yoga anatomy academy with Doctor Yogi plus a sequence on finding relief from anxiety, one of the great challenges of the modern era. Look out for a standalone yoga teacher training guide this month too, brought to you by the OM team, where you can find out all you need to know about teacher training before you take the plunge. If you’re looking to explore the world this month then be sure to check out our yoga guide to Manchester where there’s plenty going on; it’s a city with some amazing teachers and studios. And, for you guys, we’ve got an article on Why Men Need Mindfulness, it’s an invaluable tool to learn and take with you throughout the day. Keep on reading for more yoga inspiration and advice in Britain’s best-loved yoga title. Have a fantastic month, folks.