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A Mindful Minute: A Funny-Looking, But Powerful, Breathing Exercise for Kids

Alternative Nostril Breathing by GoZen

“Wait…what are you… are you doing what I think… ew, are you scratching…OH NO… Are you picking your nose? AAAAAAAH!”

This might be the reaction you get along with fits of giggles from kids learning a powerful, albeit funny-looking, ancient yogic breathing exercise. It’s a great thing that kids find this technique fun(ny) as it encourages them to engage in mindful breathing.

What is it?

In Sanskrit, this technique is called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (nadi = energy channel; shodhan = purification; pranayama = breathing technique). The goal of this exercise is to purify the energy channels in your body or purify the nervous system by balancing breath between the right and left nostrils. In the West, we call this alternate nostril breathing because it literally calls for a focus on breathing through one nostril and then switching over to the other.

Why is it good?

At any time of the day we predominantly breathe through one nostril only. Every 90-120 minutes, a switch occurs. Sometimes, however, our breath becomes imbalanced. Stopping to consciously control the frequency, rhythm, and duration of breath through each nostril helps bring equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for improved brain function. Here’s a short list of the researched benefits of alternate nostril breathing:

  • Research shows alternate nostril breathing facilitates performance on verbal and spatial cognitive tasks.
  • Research shows alternate nostril breathing improves attention.
  • Research shows long-term alternate nostril breathing boosts “autonomic control of the heart by increasing parasympathetic modulation.” In other words, it can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Research shows alternate nostril breathing can reduce high blood pressure.

How do you do it?

Alternate Nostril Breathing GoZen

For more fun mindfulness and anxiety relief exercises, visit us at www.gozen.com

A Mindful Minute: A Funny-Looking, But Powerful, Breathing Exercise for Kids

Renee Jain, MAPP

Renee Jain is an award-winning tech entrepreneur turned speaker and certified life coach. She also holds a masters in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Renee specializes in cultivating skills of resilience in both adults and children. Her passion is taking research-based concepts and transforming them into fun and digestible learning modules. For children, she has created one-of-a-kind anxiety relief programs at GoZen! delivered via engaging animated shorts.

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APA Reference
Jain, R. (2017). A Mindful Minute: A Funny-Looking, But Powerful, Breathing Exercise for Kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/stress-better/2015/01/a-mindful-minute-a-funny-looking-but-powerful-breathing-exercise-for-kids-illustrated/


Last updated: 18 Nov 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Nov 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.