LA Yoga Magazine
September 16, 2015

“The One Tool Your Child Needs for School”
by Shana Meyerson

Reasons why Ujjayi, a breathing exercise, should be used in the classroom.

So, your kids are all ready for the new school year.

Backpack? Check!

Pencils and erasers? Check!

Notebooks? Check!

Ujjayi?

Ujjayi?

You don’t mean you forgot the ujjayi, did you???

Back to School time can be very stressful for children. New classrooms and sometimes new schools. New kids, sometimes nice ones…sometimes not so nice. New situations, new teachers, new homework, new pressures.

No matter what the situation, ujjayi breathing is a tool that will help your children succeed in the new school year with flying colors.

Here’s how it works:

It’s easiest to learn in a comfortable cross-legged seat, though ujjayi can be used any time, anywhere.

Begin by having your children breathe in and out through their mouths like a huge sigh.

Ask them to feel how the breath feels (sort of cold) at the top of their throats.

Now, have them close their mouths and breathe with the same sighing feeling, imagining they were breathing from the cold spot in their throats, instead of from their noses.

When the ujjayi breath is done correctly, it should sound like the waves of the ocean on both the inhale and the exhale. A deep, guttural whisper that is neither a sniff in nor a blow out.

So, what’s the point? Why is ujjayi as important as paper (or an iPad) for your children’s success in school?

Simply put: Ujjayi is the great self-regulator. Breathing ujjayi massages the nervous system and helps to promote homeostasis.

I always tell all my students that if they ever feel challenging feelings (sad, mad, angry, frustrated, jealous), then practice the ujjayi breath. If they find themselves in an important exam, facing pressure in sports, or being upset by other students’ behaviors, practice the ujjayi breath.

And the good news: they don’t have to stop what they are doing, sit down, or close their eyes to do it. All they need to do is breathe. No one even needs to know they are doing it. Just 5-10 deep, conscious breaths and they will not only feel calmer, they will also have time to regroup and rethink their reactions.

Once your children know how to instinctively come back to their breathing, they will be able to use it in any situation where they feel as if they are losing control. Not only will it help them to get through the school year, it will help them to get through life.


Shana Meyerson is the internationally acclaimed creator of mini yogis yoga for kids and YOGAthletica. She is based in Los Angeles.