Yoga for Autism sample lesson plan

Balloon Breathing ­ beginner


Balloons with happy faces.


Sit comfortably or lie back on your mat, placing a hand on your belly, above the navel. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale to a count of three, feeling the belly expand and the front of the body relax open. Exhale to a count of three, either through the nostrils (or mouth if you notice students holding tension in the jaw). Feel the belly fall toward the floor and deflate like a balloon on the exhalation.


Balloon Breathing helps to shift activity from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing instant calmness to the body/mind. An excellent tool for developing impulse control, self-regulation, shifting attention and focusing.


What to look for:
Are you breathing into the shoulders and neck or can you soften your belly and expand your balloon?


What you should be feeling:
A relaxed sensation through the body as the breath flows naturally.


If nausea occurs, return to normal breathing until it subsides.


My soft belly moves like a balloon.


Social Preparing Story: Balloon Breathing


Before I do (math) _______ I can practice my balloon breathing.
My balloon breathing helps me to relax and focus on what my (educator/parent or activity) wants me to do.

Before I begin my balloon breathing I find a comfortable place to sit. I then place one hand on my belly to help me feel my breathing.


Next, I breath in (inhaling) through my nose and count silently 1,2,3. I can hold my fingers up, one at a time 1, 2, 3 to help me count. My belly will expand and inflate like a balloon filling up with air. This gives me energy.


Then I breath out (exhaling) through my open mouth and count 1,2,3 again. I can hold my fingers up, one at a time to help me count 1,2, 3. My belly will contract and deflate like a balloon when letting the air out. This makes me feel calm.


After I practice this with my_____ I can then try balloon breathing with my eyes closed. I can still use my fingers to help me count.

My balloon breathing helps me to feel calm and centered, ready to _______. I like feeling centered and calm. My (parents) feel happy when I am calm.


When I breathe in I can think the following words: Breathing in I focus
Breathing out I relax.




Yoga Song - Ring Around The Lotus

Ring around the lotus

We all breathe together

Inhale, exhale

We all relax! (students can now collapse down into Sleeping Sloth)