Mindful Movement and Creative Expression 
- Celebrating the Breath of Life -
April 20, 2020
"Enter these turning points, where the rhythms of life transform into each other.

Breath flows in, filling, filling, in this moment, drink eternity.

Breath flows out, emptying, emptying, offering itself to infinity.

Cherishing these moments, mind dissolves into heart, heart dissolves into space, body becomes a vibrating field, pulsating between fullness and emptiness."

- The Radiance Sutras

When it comes to our relationships with children and our role in supporting their sacred journeys of childhood, there is nothing more powerful than our loving presence in the present. One of the gifts of childhood is presence. Children are always living in the moment. Children do not yet have the relationship with time that adults do. They are not concerned with the past or the future, they are living in the here and now. This relationship that children have with the present moment must be honoured and protected. 
One of the most powerful tools to ground us in the present moment is the breath. Below are a few of Aloha Kids' favourite breathing exercises to explore with children. Not only are these fun but they are also very helpful to use if your children (or you) are experiencing strong emotions. Bringing conscious awareness to our breath helps to reset the nervous system and return one to a state of equilibrium. I encourage you to make breath awareness a daily practice with your children.
Mindful Movement
Bunny Breath
Sit up on your knees like a bunny. Keep your chest up and let your shoulders relax down. Tuck your chin a little bit and relax your mouth (jaw). Through your nose take 4 short quick breaths in. Breathe out through your mouth with a long sigh.
*You an explore increasing the number of inhalations and extending the length of the exhalation.
Snake Breath
Lay down on your belly, place your hands under your shoulders and push your torso up (cobra pose). Inhale slowly through your nose. Exhale through your mouth making a “sssssss” sound. Repeat a few times.
*You can play with this pose by trying to extend the exhale as long a possible. You can also lower your upper body to the ground slowly while you exhale.
Lion’s Breath
Sit on your knees with your hands on the floor in front of you. Inhale deeply. Pull your body forward onto your belly, stick out your tongue, and exhale making a “roar” sound. Repeat 2-4 times.
*This is a good space to have a conversation with children about big feelings. Sometimes we can feel like there is a lot happening in our body. We can use this breath to help us release the feelings or energy from our body that doesn’t feel good.
Bee Breath
Sit in a cross-legged position. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Place your hands over your ears. Exhale making the sound “buzzzzzz”. Repeat several times.
*To extend you can try other sounds such as “hummmm”, “ohhhhh”, and “shhhhh”. You can even ask the children if they have a sound they would like to try.
Belly Breath
Lie down on your back. Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Take slow deep breaths and feel your chest and your belly move up and down as the air goes in and out of your body. Repeat several times. 
*A fun variation is to place a beanbag or small stuffed animal on your bellies and watch them go up and down as you breath in and out.
Creative Expression
Once you have shared a breathing practice, perhaps you are feeling creative. Here is a fun art activity that uses the breath as a tool.
Materials
- watercolour paint (in tubes)
- paint tray or small bowls
- paper (watercolour paper is best)
- pipettes
- straws
Set Up
In each bowl mix a small amount of watercolour paint with water to create liquid watercolours (start with 2-3 colours and add more as appropriate with your child)
Give yourself and each child a piece of paper
Activity
Have a conversation with the children about our breath being a tool, a tool that gives us life, that we can use to calm our bodies, and a tool that we can use to create. Today we are going to use our breath as a creative tool to make art.
Model how to use a pipette to take a small amount of paint and drop it onto the paper.
Next model how to use the straw to blow the paint across the paper.
Repeat a couple of times and then let the children try.
Have fun creating together!
*A note on modelling: With young children, when modelling how to do an activity make your physical movements slow, clear, and deliberate. Emphasize the physical movements over the language. Limit your verbal instructions to only key words. ​​​​​​​