A Journey Through the Body
This exercise is suitable for children all ages, and can be done in groups or one-one-one. If you wish, you can put on soothing and relaxing music to play in the background. Many people enjoy having music in the background, though some it distracting.
Note: These are suggested texts for getting started. Feel free to depart from them, and use your own words. See also our “Guided Imagery Group Exercise for Kids.”
“Now we’re going to do a relaxation exercise that will help us all calm down and feel better. I’d like you to sit quietly and get comfortable. Listen to my instructions.”
Read the instructions in a slow, quiet voice, pausing often between sentences.
“Close you eyes and listen to the rhythm of your breathing… Now, let’s release all the muscles in our bodies and let them relax… Relax your feet… Your legs, the palms of your hands, shoulders and neck…Your face. Breathe very slowly…If you’d like, you can tense all your muscles, and then let them go. Tense all your muscles, make fists with your hands, scrunch up your face, tighten your shoulders, and legs. Hold it. Hold it. Now let go, and take a slow, deep breath.
We’re about to set off on a journey through our bodies. Let’s move very slowly, try and feel each and every muscle and bone in your body. Start with your hands… Visualize your right hand from the tip of your pinky through all your fingers, all the way up to your elbow… From there to your right shoulder. Everywhere you go continue to breathe deeply, and visualize your body parts letting go… relaxing …. becoming softer …. warmer …. heavier…..
Move around to your left shoulder and down to your left arm. From there to you wrist and hand…. and fingers. Move back up to your shoulders, and slowly go up your neck…. Continue relaxing into each part of your body…. move up to your head. Move around your head to your scalp… to your forehead… your eyebrows and eyes… ears… lips and mouth… to your chin and back again to your neck and shoulders… Go back through the cavity of your chest… notice your heartbeat… Move to your solar plexus…. to your stomach…. Notice what you feel there.
Notice how your whole body is relaxing…. feeling warm…. good… Now move down your right leg…. to the knee… ankle…. and heel, the ball of your foot, toes. Now move to your left leg. Down to the knee, ankle, heel, ball of your foot, to the end of your toes…
Now your whole body is feeling relaxed and calm. Stay with that feeling for a moment or two and enjoy it. Remember that you can come back here whenever you wish…. Now, move out slowly and quietly…. begin to let your eyes flutter….. move your fingers and toes…… and slowly, very slowly, come back here, to the room…. to your place in the room……. open your eyes……
Allow a few moments for your child to get his or her bearing before continuing. If your child expresses difficulties in following the exercise, assure him or her that it is a matter of practice and that with time he or she will become more proficient in relaxation.