By Rebeccca Browne, Yoga Bambinos
Happy New Year ……………….and Relax
At this time of year, we are bombarded with how to get healthy, diet and be happy and it can all get a bit much. I can’t promise to fix those issues, but I can offer some suggestions as to how you can start the New Year off more calmly.
These are ideas for the whole family and improving our wellbeing is a great place to start with any new year resolutions that you might still be considering.
Breathing may seem like an obvious suggestion to start with, but we often forget the power of breath. It can support us in regulating our emotions and calming ourselves. It also increases energy, can improve the respiratory, cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. It’s a very powerful tool for children as it can support them with their own emotions and can offer empowerment when needed.
We all have to do it to survive after all but are you doing it correctly? A great technique to teach ourselves and for even the youngest of children is Diaphragmatic breathing or with children we call it ‘Belly Breathing’. We often associate breathing through our chest/lungs but learning to breathe from our abdomen is very important. It’s the most relaxed way of getting enough air into your lungs and the blood in the lowest part of the lungs is the richest for oxygen.
You and your child can Imagine your belly is like a balloon, breathe in deep to fill it, breathe out to deflate. Another way for children to learn this is by having a “breathing buddy” which is a small cuddly toy on their lower abdomen and when they breathe in (lying down) see if the toy rises then lowers.
You will probably have a lot of breathing props already at home such as a Hoberman Sphere (extendable plastic ball), beach windmill, bubbles etc but something that we can show our children is a technique that will always be with them, their hands (no props needed). As we trace up our finger – we breathe in and when we trace down it – we breathe out.
Yoga is another great way of calming adults and children. Yoga has many other benefits of which I could write about forever about, but we will focus on calming and relaxation. There are lots of great teachers in the area, but you can also check out various online classes. Yoga is suitable for babies from 12 weeks. Yoga for children should be fun and active. Yes, they learn Yoga Poses but by going on adventures which often includes games and dance. Even the youngest of children love Downwood dog and Tree Pose. For adults I would recommend trying different styles and teachers to find the one that suits you.
Meditation is another great activity particularly winding down at the end of the day. The word mediate can often put people off but just being still, clearing your mind and being calm can have huge benefits for children and adults. In a world that is so busy and driven by technology we often find it hard to switch off but by teaching ourselves and our children the power of relaxation we are providing them with a lifelong tool.
Again, there are lovely meditation classes in the area but my children like nothing more than lying down with a little eye pillow and a blanket and we either listen to children’s meditation on YouTube or personally I make my own visualisation up such as walking in a woodland or walking by the shore, it can be whatever you like.
Being more mindful can also support our relaxation. When at the park or woodland, how often to you take in your surroundings and are aware of all your senses?
What can you see?
What can you hear?
What can you smell?
What can you feel?
Even slowing down our eating can have have a calming effect and we enjoy more taste sensations. Give it a go.
Here are a few more techniques that you may find useful to offer relaxation and calmness into your home.
There is plenty of further information via the internet or Pinterest, but I particularly love the following and again are suitable for all the family and lovely ideas to do together:
Painting and drawing
Play dough, putty and dare I say it – slime!
Self massage using little balls
Hugging as it releases our happy hormone – oxytocin
A lot of what I have suggested won’t cost anything- particularly useful in January and even if time is limited – 5 minutes can make all the difference.
Whatever you choose to try, I hope it makes a difference and offers calm and relaxation in 2019.
Love & Light Becky Yoga Bambinos
About Rebecca Browne
Rebecca is based in Ewell is a mummy to two girls and owner of Yoga Bambinos. Her experience is in Early Years Education, Hospital Play and Children’s Yoga. You can find out more at: www.facebook.com/YogaBambinos/ and www.yogabambinos.co.uk