How to Introduce Breathing Exercises in the Classroom


You may love yoga and practice it often. Perhaps you even regularly use yoga poses in your classroom and subscribe to our amaZEN U yoga video library. But maybe you don’t quite understand how or when to introduce your class to breathing exercises. That’s ok! We’re here to help.

When someone is stressed or anxious, the body’s natural response is for breath to become short and shallow. Muscles become tighter and the heart beats more rapidly. Over time these responses can lead to more stress, more anxiety, as well as depression and mental health issues.

Using deep calming breaths, especially during stressful times like class transitions and test-taking, will help students reverse their body’s reaction to stress. Focusing on their breath brings the students’ attention back to their bodies, which can help loosen muscles, lower blood pressure. It also releases endorphins, which help improve feelings of well being and overall mood.

So where do you start? amaZEN U has some great videos ranging from one to two minutes in length that demonstrate different breathing exercises, along with desired mood outcome. Looking to calm your high school classroom before a big test? Check out the Ocean Breath video. Have students cover their ears and close their eyes. Breathe in deeply through the nose, and out through the mouths. When done repeatedly in a rhythm, this will sound like the ocean.

Want to energize your preschoolers after naptime? Try the Lions Breath 1 video. Students should open their eyes, mouths and nostrils wide as they breathe in; lean forward, stick tongues out and breathe out forcefully.

And there is always our favorite, Take 5 Breath, to help calm and focus any age. Just 5 slow deep breaths in and 5 flow deep breaths out. Each inhale and exhale is for a count of 5.

The best part about breathing exercises is that once your students have done them a few times, they will be able to do them anywhere on their own!

For these and other great breathing exercises, visit www.amazenu.com. We have breath work videos for preschoolers through high school, and for desired outcomes Calm, Balanced, and Energized.