Tag Archives: body awareness

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Relaxation Training Quickly Calms the Body and the Mind

Applied relaxation training brings together a number of evidence-based relaxation techniques. The combined effect of these techniques helps reverse the effects of stress quickly and powerfully. Mindful Child Aerial Yoga classes incorporate a variety of research-backed relaxation exercises to help children calm themselves, when they encounter a stressful situation. For this blog, we will focus on one of our favorites, progressive muscle relaxation.

What is Progressive Relaxation Training?

The technique of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Jacobson in 1944. Yes, it has been around a LONG time. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) consists of tensing and relaxing individual muscle groups. It helps children to develop body awareness and teaches them how to release muscle tension. When your child practices PMR exercises, they may start from the top of the body and progress to the bottom, or vice versa depending on the exercise. Progressing through muscle groups sequentially makes it easier for children to follow along.

What are the Benefits?

Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps your child recognize the difference between tension and relaxation in each of the major muscle groups. This relaxation technique develops body awareness and has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain.

What does the Research Say?

  • After a 12-week relaxation program, researchers observed significant decreases in young athletes confusion, depression, fatigue, tension, and anger scores. (Hashim, Hanafi, & Yusof, 2011).
  • Thayer, Newman, and McClain (1994) found exercise to be the most effective mood-regulating behavior. However, their research discovered the best strategy to change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive, and exercise techniques. Hmmm…sounds like our aerial yoga classes.
  • Lupen and associates (1976) studied the effect of PMR on hyperactive children. Significant improvements were noted in behavior, attention, concentration, and cognition. Frequency of practice was positively linked with improvement. This means the more the children practiced the more they improved.

Kid’s Aerial Yoga and Progressive Muscle Relaxation

At Mindful Child, we incorporate PMR into our ending relaxation story. We do this in our mindfulness therapeutic sessions and in our aerial yoga classes. PMR is introduced in the aerial hammock, which adds an element of fun to the exercises. PMR does not have to be taught in an aerial yoga hammock to reduce stress, all that is needed is a quiet environment and a comfortable position.

References

Hashim, H. A., & Hanafi Ahmad Yusof, H. (2011). The effects of progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic relaxation on young soccer players’ mood states. Asian journal of sports medicine2(2), 99–105. doi:10.5812/asjsm.34786

Lehrer PM. Varieties of relaxation methods and their unique effects. Int J Stress Manage. 1996;3:1–14. [Google Scholar]

Thayer RE, Newman R, McClain TM. Self-regulation of mood: strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994;67:910–25. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Lupen, M., Braud, L., Braud, W, & Derer, W. (1976). Children, parents, and relaxation tapes. Academic Therapy, 12, 105-113

Infinity Breath

kid’s mindfulness

What is Infinity Breath?

Infinity Breathing is also referred to as Lazy Eight Breathing, which is a variation of a Brain Gym exercise.  Brain Gym is a set of movements that ready the body for learning.  For this exercise, use a dry erase board or for an extra sensory twist use organic instant pudding on a cookie sheet.  Draw an infinity sign or a number eight laying on its side.  Starting in the middle, your child will trace the left part of the eight while breathing in and the right while breathing out.  As your child traces, make sure he keeps the middle of his body in the center of the eight.  This will insure he is crossing midline.

What are the Benefits?

Crossing midline strengthens neural pathways between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  Crossing midline is important for establishing hand dominance and many other academic skills.  Playing in different textures increases the tactile sense, creativity and body awareness.  It is also calming and relaxing. 

What to Say.

Let’s trace our infinity sign five times with your index finger on your right hand.  Breathe in as you move your finger left, breathe out as you move your finger the other direction. Great!  Switch fingers.  Trace five times with the left index finger. Fantastic tracing! Now let’s use both index fingers to trace the infinity sign ten times.  What does the infinity sign remind you of?  I see butterfly wings.  Let’s create something out of our sign!  To infinity and beyond!

References

Dennison, P. E. (1989). Brain gym: TEACHERS EDITION. Place of publication not identified: Edu-Kinesthetics.