Day 1 Preparation: Breathing rhytmically
Please read the instructions for this lesson carefully
If your child has a history of sleep apnoea (might stop breathing in sleep), you might want to try very gently for a very short moment while the child is awake - that way you can always monitor its reactions. Skip this lesson if you are worried - but try for yourself in any case.
Please first try for yourself
- Breathe normally, and tap your hand on a table or your leg, like tapping a rhythm.
- Tap in a way that you have about 3 to four beats per inhaltation, 3 to 5 for exhaltaion. Just count, without changing anything about your breathing.
- Stop your breath now and then after the inhaltaion, feel what it is like, again without effort or struggling, take a few regular breaths.
- Stop after the exhaltaion.
- Make sure not to effort the breathing - a clear distinction between breathing and pause is important, the lenght or depth of breathing is not.
- Now divide your breathing into four parts: 2 beats inhalation, 2 beats pause, 2 beats exhalation, 2 beats pause, 2 beats inhalation...
- slightly slow down the beats.
That is all you will be doing with the child. (Always remember to adapt to the child`s breathing rhythm, which is faster!)
How breathing affects your child
As soon as the child is born, it`s lungs fill with air. A fully inflated lung is quite big (as you can see). In addition to supplying oxygen, the lungs move steadily downwards and massage the internal organs, thus supporting food transport and digestion. The volume of a fully inflated lung make a significant contribution to posture - just imagine we could inflate a supporting air cushion in your child's body. This is what this lesson is about.
If you want to find out about the importance of breathing, here is something more to try out. Please don`t try this with your child (or only as a game, if the child is able to hold the breath on its own.
- Hold the air after the inhalation for a longer time, until you feel the reaction of the diaphragm. In which direction does it pull? What areas of your body are effected?
- Hold the air after the exhaltaion. Is it any different?
Read this instruction carefully, then try for three times.
- Lie on the floor. Slowly blow the air out for as long as you possibly can. Your whole body will react, bend, change its form. Let that happen. The more you cringe and react, the better. Blow, blow, blow air out until nothing is left. Hold the air a tiny bit. Exhale again (or try to), then SWALLOW AND INHALE as much as possible, in one huge implosion. It is okay if you cough.
- Lie still for a few moments, breathe normally, and feel your breath.
Want the full experience?
For this lesson, you need about 50 minutes of time. I am not a native speaker, therefore I don`t want to offer my own recordings here. You can find more lessons on the wonderful page openatm.org.
Thanks to Falk Feddersen and openatm!
(Variations on) Breathing Rhythmically #7 (inspired by Julie Peck)
How to breathe rythmically with your child
You have experienced the effect of this lesson for yourself - and the effects will be much more intense for your child! Now you can start applying it.
- The handling of this lesson is very easy: all you have to do is to interrupt the airflow by closing the child`s mouth and nose. Count the rhythm in your head, and be ready to adapt as needed. The tapping was just to give you the general idea.
- Please keep in mind that a child`s breathing rhythm is much faster. ( 20 - 40 cycles at his age, compared to 12 - 18 in a healthy adult).
- Remember: half a second is less than the time needed to swallow, so certainly no threat or anywhere near where a body would react per se, even if you consider way shorter breathing rhythms in infants.
- Don`t persist if the child is afraid or seems to feel unwell. Start slow, and with lots of funny noises and games. With the child in this video, I could not reliably find neither a reliable inhalation nor a rhythm at all. The first lesson for the child was: you can stop your breath for a short time. This would be enough for the beginning.
- Be sure to leave room for lots of breaks - in this case, uninterrupted breathing. Breathing rhythmically three or four times in a row is sufficient.
- Never leave the comfort zone!
- The moment you and your child feel more secure, you might hold it a bit longer and wait for the reaction of the diaphragm.
- I love this intervention when children are asleep, they never wake up - and you can see wonderful deep breathing after only three or four rounds.
Seems a bit scary?
Here is another way to improve breathing, this time through the nose.
- If your child does not breathe through the nose, just gently close the mouth for a moment to let the child feel that there might be another possibility.
- If your child can breathe through the nose, but often breathes with an open mouth, close the mouth and ONE nostril (for three to four inhalations), then switch over and close the other nostril - go back and forth. This will increase inhalations and exhalations through the nose.
- Add tones, if possible. If your child can hum or sing, we can do that with a closed mouth as well (try for yourself). Sounds are basically vibrations - this will intensify the experience, but also help with a clogged up nose and mucus.
Want to know more?
On the next page, you will find additional information for this lesson. Feel free to read it at your own time.
Want to try another one?
Paradoxical Breathing in Many Positions (variations on Stomach and Chest First)