Yoga as a Tool for Easing Back-to-School Anxiety

The beginning of school season is something that brings anxiety and fears up for all of us- kids, teachers, and parents. This is natural, normal, and healthy. A lot is changing, and we all need to be alert so we can respond appropriately and make all the necessary changes that will serve us best. But there is so much that is beyond our control, and when we are under pressure, this can cause a lot of stress. Even when the changes are leading us to greater opportunities, knowledge, and well-being, we can resist change in our bodies, and this causes suffering.

This September, I intend to start my classes with the following breathing exercise that students can take home and practice by themselves and with family.

Belly Breathing- Begin by sitting up tall in a comfortable seat that you can hold for a few minutes. Let the backs of your hands rest on your knees. Close your eyes, and bring your awareness to your breath. Notice how deep or shallow it is. Notice how you are feeling.

Bring your hands to your belly. Notice how when you breathe in the belly rises. When you breathe out the belly falls. Bring your hands to your chest, over your heart. Notice how when you breathe in, your chest rises. When you breathe out, your chest falls.

Now bring one hand to your belly, and one to your chest. Close your eyes, and count in your head 10 breath cycles of in and out. When you finish with your tenth breath, rest your hands on your knees, and gently open your eyes. Notice how you are feeling.