'Breath is the king of the mind' B.K.S. Iyengar
Pranayama for and with teens provides incredibly rich tools to navigate the sometimes difficult and stressful times during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Present moment awareness through breath control brings benefits to all aspects of life.
After trying each of the Pranayamas, close your eyes and take a moment to feel the energy flowing through your body, and feel the rise and fall of your breath.
During Pranayama, avoid straining the body or forced breathing.
Do not try the techniques when you feel very depressed to avoid a negative effect on your state of mind. Skip Pranayama when you have migraines, high or low blood pressure, ear or eye problems or if you suffer from seizures.
In case you feel light headed or uncomfortable, pause your Pranayama practice.
C A L M I N G
UJJAYI BREATH - VICTORIOUS BREATH or OCEAN BREATH
Ujjayi is a simple yet stunningly effective breathing technique that is both energising and relaxing, but ultimately calming, as it brings 'victory' over the busy mind.
Ideally done in a seated position, breath only passes through the nose.
A soft, whispering sound like waves is created through constricting the opening of your throat as if you were breathing in and out of a straw.
Take a few rounds of Ujjayi to still your mind, return to a natural breathing pattern and repeat.
After practicing Ujjayi breath for a while, work up to 10 minutes of equal inhale and exhale in Ujjayi. Next, you can try to lengthen your exhale by one count. Add more counts on exhale over time, until your exhale is double the length of your inhale.
Please remember to never strain yourself while practising Pranayama, and that only a daily, continuous practice will make Pranayama a pleasant habit.
C L E A R I N G
SITALI - COOLING BREATH
Boost your focus, relieve stress and anxiety and cool down with this fun Pranayama technique!
Sit comfortably for Sitali, your in breath comes through the mouth, the out breath through the nose.
Curl the sides of your tongue inwards, on the lengths of the tongue, and create a 'straw'. A part of the tongue rests outside the lips. Tuck your chin comfortably and gently inhale through your curled tongue. The cooling effect can be felt almost immediately.
Slowly lift your head and slightly lift your chin during inhalation. Let the tongue retreat and exhale through the nostrils, the chin lowers back to a natural position.
Repeat for 6-9 rounds, then let your breath return to a natural rhythm.
U P L I F T I N G
THE BREATH OF JOY
Combine breath and movement for pure joy and lots of laughter.
Come into a standing position for this brilliant three-part breathing technique.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel with your knees slightly bent.
Inhale to ⅓ of your lung capacity and swing your arms up in front of your body.
For a moment, the arms rest parallel with palms facing the ceiling at shoulder level.
Continue inhaling to ⅔ of your lung capacity and swing the arms out to the side like the wings of a bird.
Completing your inhale to full capacity, swing your arms parallel and over your head, palms facing each other.
For your exhale, come forward and sink into a standing squat with bent knees, while creating a 'Ha' sound, simultaneously swing your arms down.
Begin with fewer repetitions and work up to 8-10 rounds.