In our fast-paced world relaxation is an essential skill. Like any skill is it something that must be taught and practiced. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) can be taught on the ground with a yoga mat or in an aerial yoga hammock – the key is to a find a place that your child finds comfortable.
What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
Children and adults do not realize that their muscles are chronically tense. Muscle tension increases during times of stress and can lead to injury. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) teaches body awareness to identify muscle groups and notice the sensations of tension and relaxation.
What are the Benefits?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation has many health benefits including reducing stress and muscle tension. Incorporating it into a story helps to engage children and promotes their imagination. PMR has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, along with improving sleep.
What to Say
- Imagine you are surrounded by snow. The snow is gently falling all around you. Make your body into a tight like ball of frozen snow. You are a snowball.
- Picture a snowball fight. Your snowball is floating through the air.
- Tighten all of your muscles. Glue everything together and squeeze.
- Don’t let you snowball fall apart.
- Breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Notice how you feel. This is what happens to your body when you are mad or nervous. Your body tightens up like it is frozen.
- Your snowball has landed on a soft patch of snow. Feel the soft snow below and around you like a big fluffy bean bag.
- Now imagine that sun has come out and you are starting to melt.
- The sun feels warm and it begins to fill you with light.
- Breathe in as you curl your toes in and scrunch your feet. Hold for one, two, three. Breathe out as you start to wiggle your toes and let your feet begin to soften just like they are melting. Puddles are relaxed and wiggly – not tight and stiff.
- As you breath in tighten your legs. One, two, three. As you breathe out start to wiggle your legs and let them relax.
- Take a deep breath in and make your hands into tight fists and your arms straight and tight. Hold for one, two, three, now let all the air out as you relax your fingers and arms into a wet puddle of water.
- Take a deep breath in as you bring your shoulders up by your ears. Scrunch your shoulders. One, two, three. Breathe out as you let your shoulders begin to soften and relax down your back.
- Close your eyes and scrunch up your entire face. Imagine a warm sun on your face. Breathe in. One, two three, release your breath and let your face relax.
- Let your body feel heavy just like water. Imagine a forests of pine trees all around you. If you would like to smell the trees raise your hand, I will put a cotton ball with pine essential oil in it.
- Continue to relax and breathe.
- Slowly come up to a seated position. Notice how you feel.
At Mindful Child…
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is just one method we employ in our classes and therapy sessions to help children relax. It is an evidence-based approach that children enjoy. When you add movement and the senses the child is using more areas of their brain, which enhances the benefits. Want to learn more ways to combat stress? Check out our Mindful Child Yoga Teacher Training or sign your child up for an aerial yoga class.