Education, Health & Wellness

Namaste at home: simple breathing exercises for the whole family

Wednesday, March 18th 2020

Our friends, the New York-based Urban Yogis are sharing breathing exercises to help us create more peaceful moments at home.

During a recent visit for the Lake Nona Impact Forum earlier this year, the Urban Yogis stopped by NorthLake Park Community School where they taught yoga to first and second graders during P.E. classes.

They lead the students through a collection of breathing exercises like this three-part sequence featuring simple movements for any age. Combined, these movements are meant to last 10-25 minutes.

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PART 1: Stretch
– Start by sitting in a chair or standing up straight and placing your left hand behind your back. Slowly inhale as you bring your right arm up and exhale as you bring your right arm down. (7-9 times)
– Switch arms and repeat on your left side by placing your right hand behind your back. Slowly inhale as you bring your left arm up and exhale as you bring your left arm down. (7-9 times)
– Next, slowly inhale as you bring both arms up and exhale as you bring both arms down. (7-9 times)

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PART 2: Tree Pose
– Place your hands in a prayer position over your chest and lift your right foot to your ankle, calf, or above the knee – not on the knee – of your left leg and hold for five breaths.
– Switch legs and repeat on your left side by placing your hands in a prayer position and lifting your left foot to your ankle, calf, or above the knee – not on the knee – of your right leg and hold for five breaths.

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PART 3: Meditation
– Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your back straight.
– When you’re ready, slowly take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, bringing awareness to how your body relaxes as you exhale.
– Next, slowly transition to breathing normally and bring your awareness to each breath. It’s important to let yourself breathe normally now without manipulating deep breaths in or out.
– As you focus on your breathing, your mind may become distracted by a thought, a sensation in your body or a sound in your environment. When you become aware that you are distracted, bring your awareness back to your breathing. (1-5 minutes)

During their time in Lake Nona, the Urban Yogis were impressed with our first and second graders.

“Who can imagine having 90 six and seven-year-olds laying down quietly and resting – not talking, not fidgeting around, not moving around – actually benefitting in taking rest,” said Urban Yogi Juquille Johnston.

In their home state, the Urban Yogis help introduce the transformative tools of yoga and meditation to at-risk youth. Co-founded by Erica Ford, renowned yoga teacher Eddie Stern, and Deepak Chopra, the Urban Yogis inspire others to choose alternative pathways toward personal and social transformation.

“The way we go through school, everything is important besides how we feel. We always have to worry about passing a test or finishing a project or homework. I don’t think we take enough time in school to say how’s your day or how are you feeling,” said Urban Yogi Jaytaun McMillan. “We usually teach older kids. With young kids, you always expect high energy, but for these kids to sit down and focus and participate in the meditation and relaxation – that was quite impressive.”

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