Here is a breathing exercise to check if you or your child are breathing in a healthy way.
Please keep in mind that healthy breathing is invisible. Any noticeable movement of any part of the body triggered by breathing -- if a person is still, and not physically active -- is an indicator of hyperventilation.
Ask yourself or your child:
- Are your shoulders moving?
- Is your chest moving?
- Is your belly moving?
Once the error is pointed out, a child should practice light breathing with no excessive movement.
Parent and child can take turns coaching each other. This is a good opportunity for the parent to deliberately make mistakes -- for example, breathing in a way that his stomach or shoulders move a lot -- so the child has the experience of winning. It's good if the parent receives correction first. Then the child feels happier and more comfortable receiving correction from the parent.
To do this exercise, the child needs to be relatively still, preferably sitting on a chair with a hard seat and a straight back. Make sure the child's posture is good. The child can put one hand on his stomach and another on his chest to check if his shoulders, chest and stomach are moving. In the beginning of Breathing Normalization training it is almost impossible for most children, and for adults as well, to stop the excessive body movements; however, they can reduce them. So bear in mind that this is a gradual process, and success will come by degrees, beginning with a foundation of increasing awareness of the excessive movements of the body.
By the way, do you know how to reduce these movements? By breathing slower and gentler.
Duration: 5-10 minutes