In a world that seems to place a premium on looking young, at Lindywell, we’re focused on how to age intentionally. We want you to feel young at heart and light in your soul while embracing each age and stage you go through.
When I first discovered breathwork in my 40s, my only regret was that I didn’t find it sooner! It immediately became a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety during one of the most challenging times in my life. As I’ve continued learning, using, and teaching it, however, I’ve seen that it also helps with navigating unique challenges at every age.
For example, my children use breathwork to get back into a regulated state when they’re activated and can’t seem to shift. I’ve also seen adults use it to heal chronic insomnia, work through 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 dig into how it can support you, your friends, family, and children. If you’re new to breathwork, I’ve also shared a few practices so you can learn how to age intentionally—and then try it right away!
Breathwork for School-Aged Children and Young Adults
In today’s world, children need more mental and emotional support than ever before. Breathwork is one of the easiest ways for them to manage and navigate their emotions, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental well-being.
Breathwork helps my kids when they’re worrying about schoolwork or grades, struggling to juggle responsibilities, and having problems with friends. It can also help children who are experiencing bullying, peer pressure, changing schools, moving, or dealing with housing problems or problems at home.
Slowing down their breath can help kids quickly and simply change their emotional state. While breathwork is simple, it can have a profound effect on these little humans. Even better, it’s something they can do no matter where they are or who they’re with. Plus, learning this at a young age can help them cope better as adults too.
A simple practice I use to help my kids regulate is to “blow love” into them. When they get activated, I ask, “Can I blow love into you?” Then I gently blow on their hairline and around their neck and face, and tell them, “I’m going to keep blowing all the love I have for you until you’re feeling better.”
This seemingly simple offering of breath and love helps shift their state while also building a deeper connection between the adult and the child. Don’t miss the breathwork practices below to find some more kid-friendly options.
Breathwork for the 20s and 30s
You may not think you need to know about how to age intentionally in your 20s and 30s—you’re just stepping into adulthood! And while this is true, it’s also true that women in their 20s and 30s are the most stressed sector of the population in the U.S. (Yikes!)
Not to mention, regardless of gender, the late 20s are one of the most stressful times in life for everyone. We experience so many significant moments of transition during this age. Money challenges and education repayment, starting and building new careers, dealing with loneliness, family responsibilities, and so much more all come into play during these decades.
The thing is, stress takes a massive toll on the body, impacting digestion, sleep, hormones, anxiety, depression, and immune function. If it goes unchecked, this can lead to chronic disease and health issues. That in turn further impacts your ability to age healthily.
Breathwork is a perfect support tool for managing this incredible stress for many reasons. Not only is it accessible no matter how much money you have, but it’s also something that can be practiced at home, in the car, or at work—whenever stress hits, breathwork is available.
I wish I had these tools to draw on as I navigated the many challenges in my 20s, including military life, deployments, infertility, moving, and job changes.
Breathwork for the 40s and 50s
There’s a lot going on for women at this age. Insomnia, for example, is very common for women in their 40s and 50s thanks in large part to hormonal changes from perimenopause or childbirth. As the body transitions into perimenopause and through menopause, insomnia often worsens and other challenges arise, like hot flashes, changes in mood, and night sweats.
For some people, this middle-aged milestone also brings the challenges of work-life balance, having and raising kids (you may be familiar with the constant carpools, sporting events, and homework!), and taking care of aging parents.
If you want to know how to age intentionally—and with joy—during this time of life, the answer is (yup, you guessed it!) breathwork. It’s not easy to juggle major shifts internally and externally, but breathwork helps you find calm in the chaos and learn to love the ups and downs, rather than dread them. (Yes, this IS possible!)
Deep, intentional breathing also helps mitigate some of the physical menopause symptoms. For example, one study found that slow, deep breathing for as little as 15 minutes, just one time each day, reduced hot flashes!
Breathwork for the 60s and Beyond
Did you know stress affects your body more after the age of 60? Knowing how to age intentionally is all about understanding how your body is aging and at this time of life, a lot is changing mentally and physically.
Physically, you may be noticing changes like drier skin, reduced strength, achy joints, and a slower metabolism. Mentally, stress is having more of an impact on your body. It can even be causing some of the physical symptoms, along with poor sleep, reduced immune function, and heart complications.
This is why breathwork is key during this decade of your life and beyond. It can support your mind and body as it changes and help you mitigate some of the physical symptoms stress causes.
Breathwork Practices for Every Age
The power of a single deep breath alone cannot be underestimated. It slows the heartbeat, calms your mind, and as a result, melts challenging emotions away, like stress, anxiety, or fear. While this can be impactful—or all you can manage—in a single moment, making time for breathwork more regularly, even for just 5-10 minutes each day is the key to truly leveraging the benefits as you age.
There are many ways to practice breathwork, so I’m sharing a few of my favorites to get started with. If you want more support in learning how to do breathwork, join Lindywell for free for 14 days and get instant access to the guided breathwork sessions in our app! (Plus, 250+ Pilates workouts, hundreds of recipes, and more!)
This is a great breathwork 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 hold up their right hand and as they trace each finger with the pointer finger of their other hand, they breathe in and out. So they breathe in as they trace to the top of the finder and then exhale as they trace down the finger.
Have your kiddo start at the base of the thumb and do this across all five fingers and then repeat on the other hand or go back on this hand if needed or if they want to.
This simple practice can instantly calm and relax your body and help you make a quick shift. It can even be used to improve your focus.
Start by taking a deep breath through the nose for a count of four. Hold for four counts, breathe out slowly for four counts, and then hold again for four. Repeat for 3 minutes to start or until you feel relaxed.
Pursed Lip Breathing
This unique breathwork style can help improve breathing efficiency and ease shortness of breath. It’s also another good one for kids because it teaches them to release a deep breath the same way they would blow out a candle.
Start by inhaling slowly through your nose for 2-3 seconds. Pucker or purse your lips as if you were 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 breathwork style, you breathe at a rate of 5 breaths per minute. This sounds like a lot, but it’s actually equivalent to inhaling and exhaling for just 6 seconds each! Doing this can help regulate your autonomic nervous system, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.
Start 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 this for a total of 5 breaths, or 1 minute.
Want to Know How to Age Intentionally?
Breathwork is the most accessible 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 into your routine. The best way to do that is to get guided support, especially if you’re new to this practice.
My guided breathwork sessions within Lindywell and Live Exhale Hour sessions help you learn the practices while getting even more powerful results. Plus, it holds you accountable for your breathwork practice, which can be the biggest challenge. Consistency matters! Try a guided experience by joining my LIVE Exhale Hour or explore how breathwork can positively transform your life with short daily sessions in our app at lindywell.com/breathwork.