When we practice yoga and mindfulness in a group setting, we create a sense of community and belonging for both adults and children. Partner and group poses reinforce this and allow children to experience positive touch, tuning into their own breath while also noticing the collective breath and energy.
This group relaxation creates the opportunity for social emotional learning (SEL) as the children navigate their own experience while having an impact on the experience of those around them.
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean" - Ryunosuke Satoro
Try this group relaxation in your classroom or at home with your family to create both connection and calm.
Group Belly Breath Relaxation
You can ring a chime or singing bowl gently throughout this visualization to create relaxed focus or play soft ambient music.
One person lies down on their back with their arms and legs relaxed in resting pose (savasana).
The next child lies down with the back of their head on the first child’s belly making a "T"
The next child lies down with their head on the second child’s belly making a "T" with their body in the same direction as the first person.
Keep going until you have a long line stacked head to belly.
There will likely be giggling at first. Option to explore a silly moment by having the everyone say “Hahaha!” and see how that feels.
Once the laughter subsides, ask everyone to close their eyes, breathe deeply and feel their head rise and fall.
Teacher may lead a guided visualization or play the singing bowl to create focus and calm. Allow enough time for everyone to settle and relax into stillness.
When ready, exit the pose one at a time, starting with the last person. Have each person role onto their side toward their support's legs and sit up cross-legged with hands resting on their thighs . Once everyone is seated, they will be facing in toward one another.
Invite them to look into the eyes of their friends as the group takes three belly breaths in and audible exhales together.
Have everyone bring their hands over their heart and thank their friends for doing yoga with them today.
Give children the opportunity to draw or share how they feel after the relaxation. If time allows, you can pass around a breathing ball or talking stick and have everyone take a turn sharing how they are feeling.
Remember: The more you practice, the easier it will be for both you and the children to settle into calm. You will notice children quieting more quickly and staying for longer periods of time.