Category Archives: Playful Practices

The Magic Happy Breath – A Relaxation Practice For Kids & Adults

Hello Everyone and Happy Fall!

Yilan This month’s blog topic is on the importance of Deep Breathing and the amazing benefits it has on the mind, body and spirit.

http://hillaryaugustine.com/store As most schools are already well into their fall breaks, Shoreham-by-Sea you may be experiencing in your kids some extra pent up energy, possibly leftover from the classroom and playground. This energy may be manifesting itself as stress, anxiety, frustration, and/or hyperactivity.

Many times kids don’t know how to let go of this sometimes labeled “negative” energy in a constructive way, and it’s the parents job to help steer them in the right direction. 

During the years I was teaching first grade there was a series of books written by Adolph Moser and illlustrated by David Melton that I, and the children, really resignated with. Each book was written for a certain day of the week and explored different important topics such as: Stress and anger management, self-esteem, violence, grief, divorce, and truth-control. 

Each Monday at the beginning of class I would read his book entitled, Don’t Pop Your Cork on Mondays: The Children’s Anti-Stress Book to my class which always led to very interesting, and yes, entertaining discussions. 

My favorite part of that book was his kid friendly approach to deep breathing. So without fail, every Monday morning for 13 years my students and I had the opportunity to begin our day by lying  flat on the ground, imagining that our bellies were balloons, and on the inhale through the nose we’d inflate our balloons, holding for five seconds, and then on the exhale, slowly letting all of the air out of our balloons.

Throughout the day I began to notice that the children seemed more calm and more in control of their bodies and their emotions, and remember, these are first graders I’m talking about, 6-7 year olds. Not to mention the calming and balancing effects that I felt after each deep breathing seesion.  This Monday morning breathing ritual soon became a daily event.

So without further ado I’d like to introduce you all to a simple deep breathing relaxation practice for the entire family to enjoy; it’s called, The Magic Happy Breath. 

The Magic Happy Breath was created by my teacher Dr. Joyce Mills as part of her StoryPlay® therapy and coaching model, and I will teach it to you as I learned it in my training. 

This relaxation practice is a wonderful way to give children a valuable tool for helping themselves to reduce stress and gain a feeling of control in their lives. It can be practiced anywhere and anytime and is a wonderful technique for the entire family.

Here’s how it works:

  1. First get into a comfortable position…For younger children allow them to wiggle their body around until they’ve found the best spot for them. (You might even want to demonstrate this to them).
  2. Then tell them to find something that they enjoy looking at, and to let their eyes rest on that spot.
  3. Now that you have the spot, we’ll begin taking a Magic Happy Breath like this…
    (You demonstrate first to your kids).
  4. Breathe in deeply through your nose…you want your belly to expand or stick out like a balloon if possible, and hold it for five seconds, counting aloud so your children can hear.
  5. Then exhale, or let your breath out slowly through your mouth, as if you were gently blowing a feather, or letting the air out of a balloon. If you’d like you can hold your hand up to your mouth and pretend you have a feather, or if you have  one handy, better yet.
  6. Then check in with your body and notice how wonderful you feel inside.
  7. Repeat two more times, or as many times as you wish.

If you are teaching the Magic Happy Breath to your child, you might want to demonstrate the inhale and the exhale for them a few times so they can see you do it first. Then ask him or her to repeat it three more times following the same instructions as above.

I can’t say enough about how deep breathing has changed my life and health for the better, and I’ve seen firsthand the incredible results it has on kids in the classroom.

Did you know that by simply taking three deep belly breaths whenever you’re feeling stressed, anxious, tense, frustrated, angry, etc., that in an instant your entire body chemistry changes?

In ancient times, famous doctors claimed that the one who is able to control his breath – is able to control his life. There were no painkillers back then and people, especially those who knew the value of life and health, managed to prevent illnesses and get through stressful situations by practicing deep breathing. 

Research shows that some of the amazing and immediate benefits from deep belly breathing include:

  • Increased Clarity and focus
  • Reduced tension and stress
  • Increased concentration and energy
  • Calming of the mind
  • Reduced abdominal and stomach pain
  • Relief from headaches, backaches and other stress related aches and pains

And the best part about deep breathing is that it’s free, safe, and easy. Your kids can do it in the classroom at anytime whithout anyone even knowing, and finally, it’s one of the best things you and your kids can do for your health.

So until next time…
Happy Breathing!
Joy

Dreaming Pots

I had the most wonderful morning this morning creating Dreaming Pots with the mentors and kids at the Phoenix Youth at Risk! Each and every Dreaming Pot was so unique and full of images and symbols depicting good dreams, aspirations, goals, and desires. The Dreaming Pot was created by Dr. Joyce Mills and is one… Continue Reading

StoryPlay®, the Foundation of My Playful Practices

For those of you wondering the origin of my Playful Practices, I wanted to add a brief history of their foundation; as well as give credit to the amazing creator of these practices, my teacher, Dr. Joyce C. Mills. After completing my Master’s in Counseling at Argosy University, I began searching the computer for topics that were in the area… Continue Reading

The Five Sided Rock

My playful practice the other week was to find a five sided rock, sit with it, and let it teach me something that would be helpful for me to know. The intention of this practice was to experiment with my senses and to listen to my intuition. So after searching through my parent’s rock garden, I finally saw, felt, and… Continue Reading

The Magic Happy Breath

This StoryPlay® relaxation practice for children was created by my teacher Dr. Joyce Mills. I will teach it to you as I learned it in my training. First get into a comfortable position. Then find something that you enjoy looking at, and let your eyes rest on that spot. Now that you have that spot…We’ll beging taking a Magic Happy Breath like… Continue Reading