Whether it be to wind down for bed time, or to cool down after a meltdown, we all need to learn how to relax.
When I was in primary school, we had a fabulous teacher who insisted we all learnt basic tai chi, and meditation techniques. He also firmly believed that that each day should be started gently, and incorporate some form of relaxation and meditation.
In honour of him, here are my seven favourites:
1. Breathe Silver Air – find yourself in a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and focus on breathing in and out silver air. Slow deep breaths.
2. Tense and Relax (The technical term for this is Progressive Muscle Relaxation) Beginning at your eyebrows, tense and relax each muscle group in your body: Forehead, Jaw, Shoulders, trunk, Fingers, Tummy, legs, toes.
3. Make like Ommmmmmmmmm! Inhale, and on the exhaling breath, say Ommmmmmmmmmm. Focus on your breathing, and make your Oms nice and long.
4. 10 Deep Breaths – a very simple technique, but when you’re stressed, 10 deep breaths can be all it takes to move you to a calmer place.
5. Use self imagery – go to your happy place. Mine was a room filled with great big cushy cushions, with a big bright window, overlooking a field (Which looked a little like a microsoft windows desktop….Hmmmm) Visualise the ocean crashing gently on the shore, hear the birds singing, smell the forest on a damp, dewy morning…
6. Gentle Stretching – even if you’re not into yoga, gently stretching your muscles encourages the release of endorphins. Gently roll your neck from side to side, stretch your fingers, and arms… Breathe nice and deeply throughout.
7. Gentle Exercise – such as Tai Chi and Yoga are brilliant de-stressers and something that kids are generally REALLY good at. My boys do a fantastic downward dog!
Photo by Tom@HK