SITE UPGRADE COMING SOON: On or around December 1st, 2021, I'll be moving Mindful Teachers to a new, more mobile-friendly platform.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Top 3 Breathing Exercises for Anxious Kids

photo courtesy Sara Weis

The following is a guest post by Sara Weis of Go Go Yoga for Kids, an elementary school teacher as well as an experienced yoga teacher and teacher trainer.

“You will be fine. It will be fun,” I affirmed for the hundredth time as I nudged my daughter out the door for her first soccer practice. 

She's a kid, I thought. What does she really have to be nervous about? Trying new things is supposed to be exciting when you are young. It is only when you are an adult that it becomes harder to step outside your comfort zone, correct?

That may be true for a very few select kids who sail through their childhood without an ounce of anxiety clouding their pursuit of trying new activities. However, the majority of kids worry and fret, just like adults.

As a mom of three and a teacher for over 18 years, I frequently see a recurring theme of anxiousness in children, and it is completely normal. Kids get nervous or stressed. Any different event such as starting a new school year, taking tests, trying new activities, and meeting new people can bring about uncertainty, unease, and worry.

When we worry, we take short, shallow breaths which continue to ignite the feeling of unease in our bodies. Slowing down our breathing and taking long, deep breaths naturally brings on a sense of calmness and peace.

Try these three breathing exercises with your kids. These calming techniques are effective for any age, and can be done anywhere - in the morning, during a car ride, sitting in school, or before bedtime. 

Shoulder Shrugs  
Roll your shoulders back and down so they are away from your ears. Breathe deeply in through your nose as you raise your shoulders up by your ears. Breath out and lower your shoulders. Repeat movement 3-5 times and feel the tension melt away.

Darth Vader Breath
This is a favorite with children as they associate an image with this breathing exercise. Breathe deeply in and out while exhaling strongly through an open mouth.

Ocean Waves 
Close your eyes and imagine you are an ocean wave. Breathe in and out deeply as if you are an ocean wave washing on the beach. Alternate the frequency of your breath to become shorter and longer waves.

By introducing a few breathing or calming exercises to kids, you will be giving them lifelong skills to 
become calm and focused, and better manage their anxiety when facing new situations.

photo courtesy Sara Weis
About the author:

Sara J. Weis is a leading expert in yoga for kids, bestselling author of Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide to Using Yoga with Kids, and creator of the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards and Kids Yoga 101: How to Teach Yoga to Kids Online Training.

She has over 18 years of experience teaching in the public schools and has led hundreds of kids' yoga classes. She is a certified kid and adult yoga instructor and holds a Master’s Degree in education.

Visit for more kids yoga resources and to receive free monthly lesson plans. You can also connect with Go Go Yoga for Kids on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.


related posts:

The Best Ways to Teach Yoga to Different Ages of Kids