Materials: Optional: one yoga mat per student.
Set Up: Ideally, ensure students have enough space to sit on the ground. However, if necessary, this breath can be adapted so that students can sit in chairs.
Today we’re going to practice lion’s breath. This is a great breath to use if you notice an uncomfortable feeling getting bigger.
It’s a fun breath and can help us be silly!
Start by sitting on your heels on your mat.
Gently place your hands on your knees.
We’re going to practice breathing like lions. Each time we breathe out, we’re going to do it so loudly that it will sound like a lion’s “rooooooaaaar.”
Gently lift your head and your chest.
Are you ready?
Take a deep breath in, and as you do, tighten all the muscles in your face.
As you breathe out, lean forward, open your mouth as wide as a lion, and stick out your tongue. Breathe out so forcefully that you breath sounds like a roar.
Excellent! Let’s do it again.
Breathe in, scrunching up your face!
Breathe out, open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and roar!
Great job lions!
Breathe in, imagining you are bringing in lots of good stuff into your body. That’s it!
Breathe out, sending all of those uncomfortable emotions out of your body with your powerful roar.
(Repeat as many times as you’d like.)
Wonderful roars! Pause here for a moment and check in with your body and your mind. Do you notice any changes?
You do not need to read the included script verbatim. Adapt the language so that it is appropriate for your students in particular.
It is not important for students to get this breath practice “exactly right.” Instead, focus on helping them build mind-body awareness each time you practice.
Offer students positive reinforcements throughout each practice. Focus on qualities and behaviors they can control, like their focus, effort, or persistence. Be specific whenever possible. This will help your students develop a “growth mindset.”
Use loose, exaggerated, and funny movements to encourage students to let go of any self-consciousness they might experience during this practice. Explain that if it looks and feels silly, they are doing it right. Ideally, everyone will start laughing!
If you’d like, you can add hand movements to this breath practice. On each inhalation, squeeze your fists up by your shoulders. On each exhalation, stretch your arms forward, opening your palms and fingers wide.
Authors: Megan Downey and Anna Basile
Adapted from: Compassionate Schools Project