We can use visualizations as part of our yoga and mindfulness practice to still and calm the mind. They are especially effective for young children as they can help us achieve deep relaxation while allowing the mind to focus on calming and restful images.
Travel visualizations are great for preschoolers because they are tangible and familiar. You can float on a river, fly through the sky in a hot air balloon, or feel weightless on a cloud or in space. Keep it short and simple, about 3-5 minutes. With practice, you can add more details and time.
"You can't be unhappy in the middle of a big, beautiful river" - Jim Harrison
Try this in your classroom, before nap or bedtime, or anytime you want to create a peaceful moment with your child. Use the video or customize the script below to make it your own.
FLOATING RAFT RELAXATION
You can ring a chime or singing bowl gently throughout this visualization to create relaxed focus or play soft ambient music.
- Lie on your back, relax your legs long and arms by your side with palms facing up. (This can also be done seated comfortably on the floor or in a chair.)
Close your eyes and allow your body to sink into the floor. Be very still and very quiet.
Can you be so quiet that you can hear yourself breathing? Can you be so still that you can feel your heart beating?
Connect to your breath – gently inhaling and exhaling. Let your body completely relax.
Imagine you are floating on a raft. You are completely safe and at peace.
Are you on a lake or floating down a river?
You feel a soft breeze on your face. You feel the warm sun on your body.
Feel the gentle movement of the water underneath your raft, a soft rolling.
Your body completely relaxes onto the raft.
What do you smell? The smell of salt air, the fresh breeze, or the cool crisp water?
What do you see as you are floating?
What sounds do you hear around you?
Continue imagining yourself floating on your raft – completely calm, completely safe, very peaceful (remain totally quiet for 30 seconds).
Slowly the raft returns to shore, coming on to the land and you look out on the water. Know that you can return to this feeling of peaceful floating whenever you would like. You can just close your eyes at anytime and come back to your floating raft.
Relax as long as you like and then slowly wiggle fingers and wiggle toes. Hug your knees to your chest and curl up like a little ball. Give yourself a big hug, roll to one side and slowly sit up.
Give children the opportunity to draw or share how they feel after the relaxation. Or you can pass around a breathing ball or talking stick and have everyone take a turn sharing their affirmation.
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.