In a world that seems to be all about looking young, at Lindywell we focus on aging on purpose. We want you to feel young at heart and light in spirit while embracing each age and stage you go through.
When I first discovered breathwork in my 40s, my only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner. It immediately became a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety during one of the most difficult times in my life. As I continued to learn, use, and teach it, however, I found it also helpful in navigating the unique challenges of each age.
For example, my children use breath work to bring themselves back into a regulated state when they become active and can’t move. I’ve also seen adults use it to treat chronic insomnia, cope with grief, and manage the ups and downs of parenthood.
Breathwork is a tool that stays with you no matter where you go or how old you are. So let’s explore how it can support you, your friends, family and children. If you’re new to breathing, I’ve also shared a few practices so you can learn how to age intentionally and try it right away.
Breathing for school-age children and young adults
In today’s world, children need mental and emotional support more than ever. Breathing is one of the easiest ways to manage and navigate their emotions, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental well-being.
Breathwork helps my kids when they worry about school work or grades, struggle with responsibilities, and have problems with friends. It can also help children who are being bullied, peer pressured, changing schools, moving or having housing issues or problems.
Slowing down their breathing can help children change their emotional state quickly and easily. Although breathing is simple, it can have a big effect on these little people. Even better, it’s something they can do no matter where they are or who they’re with. Also, learning this at a young age can help them cope better as adults.
A simple practice I use to help my children adjust is to “breathe love” into them. When they become active, I ask: “Can I blow love into you?” Then I blow gently on their hairline, neck and face and say,
This seemingly simple offering of breath and love helps change their condition while creating a deeper connection between adult and child. Don’t miss the breathing practices below for more kid-friendly options.
Breathwork for the 20s and 30s
You may not think you need to know how to intentionally age in your 20s and 30s, you’re just walking into adulthood. And while that’s true, it’s also true that women in their 20s and 30s are the most stressed segment of the US population (Yikes!)
Not to mention, regardless of gender, the late 20s are one of the most stressful times in life for everyone. At this age we are living through very important moments of transition. Money challenges and paying off education, starting and building a new career, loneliness issues, family responsibilities and much more all come up during these decades.
The thing is, stress takes a toll on the body, affecting digestion, sleep, hormones, anxiety, depression, and immune function. If left unchecked, it can lead to chronic illness and health problems. This in turn further affects your ability to age healthily.
Breathwork is the perfect supportive tool for managing this incredible stress for many reasons. Not only is it affordable, no matter how much money you have, it’s also something that can be used at home, in the car, or at work. whenever stress arises, breathing is available.
I wish I had these tools to draw on for the many challenges of my 20s, including military life, deployments, infertility, moving, and job changes.
Breathwork for the 40s and 50s
There is a lot going on for women this age. For example, insomnia is very common in women between the ages of 40 and 50, mainly due to hormonal changes after menopause or childbirth. As the body goes through menopause and menopause, insomnia often worsens and other problems arise, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats.
For some people, this midlife milestone also brings with it the challenges of work-life balance, having and raising children (you may be familiar with constant chaperones, sporting events, and housework), and caring for aging parents.
If you want to know how to age intentionally and joyfully during this time of life, the answer is (yes, you guessed it!) breathing. The inner and outer core shifts aren’t easy to juggle, but breathing helps you find calm in the chaos and learn to love the ups and downs, not fear them. (Yes, this is possible!)
Deep, intentional breathing also helps ease some of the physical symptoms of menopause. For example, one study found that slow, deep breathing for 15 minutes, just once a day, reduced hot flashes.
Breathwork for the 60s and beyond
Did you know that stress affects your body more after the age of 60? Knowing how to age intentionally is all about understanding how your body ages and a lot changes mentally and physically at this point in life.
Physically, you may notice changes such as drier skin, decreased strength, joint pain, and a slower metabolism. Mentally, stress affects your body more. It can even cause some physical symptoms, including poor sleep, decreased immune function, and heart complications.
This is why breathing is important throughout this decade of your life and beyond. It can support your mind and body as it changes and help you alleviate some of the physical symptoms caused by stress.
Breathing exercises for every age
The power of just one deep breath cannot be underestimated. It slows your heart rate, calms your mind and as a result melts away difficult emotions such as stress, anxiety or fear. While this may be overwhelming, or all you can manage at a moment’s notice, making more regular time for breathwork, even just 5-10 minutes each day, is the key to truly reaping the benefits as you age.
There are many ways to practice breathwork, so to get you started, I’m sharing some of my favorites. If you want more support learning how to do breathwork, join Lindywell for free for 14 days and get instant access to our app’s guided breathing sessions. (Plus, 250+ Pilates workouts, hundreds of recipes, and more).
This is a great option for kids. It’s easy, kinesthetic, visual and auditory. All of this makes it fun for little ones and easier to remember.
Have them raise their right hand and, as they trace each finger with the index finger of their other hand, they breathe in and out. So they inhale as they pass the top of the finder and then exhale as they pass the finger.
Ask your child to start at the base of the thumb and do this on all five fingers, then repeat on the other side or return to this hand if necessary or if desired.
This simple practice can instantly calm and relax your body and help you shift quickly. It can even be used to improve your focus.
Begin by taking deep breaths through your nose to the count of four. Hold for a count of four, exhale slowly for a count of four, then hold again for a count of four. Repeat for 3 minutes to start or until you feel relaxed.
Pursed lip breathing
This unique breathing style can help improve breathing efficiency and relieve shortness of breath. This is another good option for children as it teaches them to take deep breaths as if they were blowing out a candle.
Begin by inhaling slowly through your nose for 2-3 seconds. Press or purse your lips as if you are going to whistle or blow out a candle and exhale slowly and steadily through your pursed lips for 4-6 seconds. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.
With this breathing style, you breathe at a rate of 5 breaths per minute. This sounds like a lot, but it’s actually the equivalent of inhaling and exhaling for just 6 seconds each. It can help regulate your autonomic nervous system, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.
Begin by inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 6 seconds. Exhale slowly and evenly through your nose for a count of 6 seconds. Continue like this for a total of 5 breaths or 1 minute.
Want to learn how to age on purpose?
Breathing The most affordable health and wellness tool for every decade of your life. Now that you’ve learned how to age intentionally with your breath, it’s time to add it to your routine. The best way to do this is to get guided support, especially if you are new to the practice.
My guided breathing sessions at Lindywell and Live Exhale Hour help you learn the practices for even more powerful results. Plus, it makes you accountable for your breathing practice, which can be the biggest challenge. Consistency is key. Try a guided experience by joining my LIVE Exhale Hour, or explore how breathwork can positively transform your life with our app’s short daily sessions. lindywell.com/breathwork.