Parenting is incredibly rewarding path but on the flip side, it also presents significant challenges and demands. With great deal of responsibility on your side, children require a stream of endless attention, which asks a lot of the parent. This can lead to feelings of stress, overwhelm, and exhaustion.
In these moments, it is very helpful to have tools to manage these feelings and stay calm and focused. This is where pranayama (or breathwork) is the perfect companion.
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that means "extension of the life force energy".
Composed of two Sanskrit words:
'Prana', which means 'life force energy'. (Pra = first or foremost | Na = unit of energy)
...and 'Yama', which means to 'expand with awareness'.
Pranayama techniques can help regulate the body and mind, and has been practiced for centuries as not only as a limb towards spiritual growth but also towards physical and mental health.
By incorporating pranayama into your daily routine as a parent, you can tap into the power of the breath to manage stress, find your centre, and continue to nurture your child.
One of the key benefits of pranayama is its ability to regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls the body's involuntary functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiration. By practicing pranayama, you can activate the parasympathetic branch of the ANS, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. Therefore, introducing these practices into your routine can help reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of calm.
When we are stressed or overwhelmed, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. By practicing pranayama, we can bring our attention to the breath, which can help calm the mind and improve focus. This can be especially helpful for parents who are trying to balance the demands of work, daily chores, and childcare.
Pranayama can also help parents connect with their child on a deeper level. By practicing simple pranayama together, parents and children can create a sense of calm and peace together.
Children will also benefit from focused breathing techniques, which can help them regulate their own emotions and manage stress.
So, how can you incorporate pranayama into your daily routine as a parent? Here are a few simple, yet powerful breathing techniques to try:
Abdominal Breathing - Encourages relaxation:
- Lie down with your eyes closed, hands on the lower belly.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, as you feel the belly rise up, like a balloon.
- Then exhale slowly through your nose, allowing the balloon to deflate.
- Repeat for 5-10 rounds.
Alternate Nostril Breathing - Improves concentration:
- Sit comfortably. Take a few natural breaths through your nose.
- Using your dominant hand, close your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril.
- At the top of your inhale, cover the left nostril and exhale through your right nostril.
- Inhale through right, exhale through left. This is one round.
- Repeat for 5 rounds.
Or Watch This Guided Video:
Bhramari Breath - Releases stress from a cellular level:
- Sit comfortably, hands on knees.
- Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your nose while making a humming sound, like a honeybee.
- Continue for 2-5 minutes and then stop humming.
- Sit quietly for 1 minute.
Or Watch This Guided Video: