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Breathe in the good breathe out the bad

...”Breathe in the good stuff, breathe out the bad stuff, set your breathing free, when you are sad or when you are angry breathe the mystery”..

This is what I used to sing growing up. #Breath has been a huge part of my life and was a very important part of my childhood. At this point there are so many fun and educational ways for children to learn how to breathe deeply to calm down and relax. Even terms like breathing in the good and out the bad are more common.

To me, the breath is like a #bridge between the emotions and the body – it ties them together, and they have a big effect on one another. Observe what happens to your breath when you are #angry, #sad, #afraid, or #excited.


As a singer, I have learned to project my voice with the help of my breath. I have often noticed how much volume babies and children can project when they feel the need. In my observation this is because babies and young children often still take full, #deep breaths.


Breathe in through your #nose. Focus your breath all the way down in to your #belly. You could imagine when you are breathing in that you are smelling something really delicious, like a flower or pizza. What happens inside your body when you take a full relaxed breath: your lungs fill with air, your diaphragm expands all around you and drops down, pushing your stomach and sides out. It would be good to count as you breath in. See if you can breath in and slowly count to 5.


Sometimes we breathe in a more shallow manner, (due to stress or unconsciousness) thus only filling the lungs with a little air. When we breathe this way, our shoulders usually lift up and our stomach gets pulled in. This does not allow the body to take in maximal air, let alone all the other “good stuff” we are breathing in. So make sure when you breathe you are aware of what your shoulders are doing.


So far we have only talked about breathing in air (or oxygen). As I said in the beginning, our breathe is very much connected to our feelings. So to reinforce a good flow of #oxygen in our body, we can also use our (and children's) great capacity for visualization to breathe in a whole number of good things! In this video Clarence gives us an example of what you could imagine you are breathing in, in this little guided #meditation.


Breathe out through your nose (or sometimes if you are feeling a lot of sadness, tiredness, pain, or boredom, through your mouth) and allow your diaphragm to contract as the air leaves your body. You can feel if you are relaxed, that your stomach naturally contracts as well. It can be good to even push your stomach in a little toward the end of the out-breath to make sure you release all the air that is in there. This allows room for the new and fresh air and "good feeling" to fill your body. Just like with the in-breath, breathing out is also very important, and can even have two functions. First, when you breathe out, you can spread the good feeling you just breathed in all through your body. Imagine or visualize that the good feeling is radiating throughout your body in all directions. If you are feeling particularly upset about something, imagine breathing out all the “bad stuff” that your body or emotions may be holding on to. This is very effective for everyone, and dramatically so with children.

In the video below Clarence has a chance to do a little breathing exercise after he has hurt himself.

One thing you can use with children to demonstrate all this is a balloon (see balloon bellies in my book The Heart-Strong Warrior & How To Be One). When you breathe in the balloon fills with air. It is round and full (just like your belly). Then talk to the children about all the good things they can breathe in. After they have a sense of that, you can let the balloon go and let it fly all around the room. Ask the children if they think that is the “correct” way to breathe out. You can tell them that breathing that way throws off all the wonderful energy they just breathed in. Blow the balloon up again. This time when you let the air out, let it out slowly and talk about how this way you let all the good energy circulate all through you body.


Here is an excellent breath chart created by Frank Marrero, that explains wonderfully how to breathe depending on the emotion you are feeling.

When you're not feeling well or happy,

intentionally STRENGTHEN some breaths,

and you will feel better.


When you are scared or nervous, your breath is frozen,

so take several EVEN and DEEP breaths.


When you are sad or bored, your feeling is collapsed,

but you can BLOW IT AWAY, breath after breath.


When you are angry or frustrated, your feeling is exploding,

but you can BALANCE anger by BREATHING IN really big,

(and counting your blessings).


When you are happy, your feeling is free and you can ENERGIZE your body by BREATHING HAPPINESS ALL THROUGH YOU.


Breath is very important, and especially useful to learn how to utilize fully as young as possible. It is a great way to keep our body and emotions healthy and balanced.

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