Today I practiced yoga with the children in our special ed program. Fridays are our “yoga” days where we get to practice yoga by playing games,making our bodies into animals and objects and releasing difficult emotions like fear, anger, worry and frustration through fun and interactive breathing strategies. The children shared what makes them feel afraid and we did breathing to release fear and show our courage. They shared what makes them feel angry and we talked about how when we get angry we feel hot, like a volcano and sometimes feel like we want to explode. We became volcanoes and released our anger and frustration through our breath…visualizing the heat and anger coming out of our mouths like hot lava and steam. It is incredible how we can release tension and emotions we store in our bodies through these types of fun and playful breathing strategies. Teaching children to release tension and difficult emotions in non-intimidating ways allows them to feel ok with expressing themselves and helps them understand that we all feel these emotions and we can learn ways to express them, release them and let them go. Children with language processing deficits in particular struggle with expressing their emotions. In many cases the struggle of trying to find the words or language to communicate how they feel becomes an even bigger frustration and can cause meltdowns, outbursts and distress over communicating their feelings. Specific breathing strategies can allow the child to release physical tension and stress from their bodies when they are feeling difficult or challenging emotions. Think back to a time when you were upset and just felt like you needed to let it out in some physical way. The visualization of letting the emotions out supports children in letting emotions go rather than holding on to them, releasing tension in the mind. The breathing strategies help children release tension and stress in their bodies in order to support better sleep, mood, behavior, digestion and overall physical and emotional well-being. Give it a try…the next time you become angry and feel like you want to explode…become a volcano…breathe out your anger…let it go. We can all learn so much from these amazing young people if we take the time to listen and pay attention. TGIF and Happy Breathing!