In the Breath is a Clearing Space: Multi-Sensory Relaxation Techniques for You and Your Child

In a world where we and are children are hurried, over-scheduled and stress-out; health integrity is not only favorable, it is a necessity. Learn how to slow, pause and tune into your bodys innate ability to rightitself. Heres how.

Years ago, when I worked as research assistant to Joan Borysenko,Ph.D., co-founder of the Mind/Body Clinic with Harvard cardiologist, Herbert Benson, MD, I was introduced to the basic

principles and benefits of relaxing the mind, body and spirit. I was involved in weekly meditation groups of adults who came with stress disorders ranging from digestive problems, chronic pain, migraine headaches to cancer. They were seeking a cure for their physical symptoms. But they left with a new mind set, a perspective on how the mind/body connection is really a body/mind language. And in learning how to communicate, they reported weekly relief. It all begins with our breathing.

In the breath is a clearing space.This was unfamiliar language to me. But as I practiced

breathing mindfully, I understood how Dr. Bensons Mind/Body Program was helping adults use the breath to restore the bodys natural ability to return to homeostasis and cope with additional stress.

I use the childs imagination through my teaching guided imagery relaxation and breathing. I have come to believe that this is probably one of the most amazing tools that you could be given.

School principals and teachers are only too aware of unruly children in classrooms due to

their disruptive behavior, anxiety disorders and meanness. The ability to be peaceful, patient and kind has gone by the wayside. However, I believe, and current trends in social psychology are pointing to methods in mindfulness and resilience to teach the new ABCS:

A-wareness of our B-ody/Mind C-ommunication for S-tress Relief.

The individual letters or building blocks of this language include mindfulness, meditation and relaxation techniques.  This language builds understanding and communication first with ourselves and then with those in the world around us. This language helps to create inner strength and resilience, right action, peace, balance, contentment and connection.

To teach our children this new language, we must first learn it ourselves.  The more we are able to be centered in our own bodies and feel what is going on for ourselves personally when we or a loved one is experiencing some sort of challenge or change; the quicker and more natural it becomes for our children to do this as well.  Just as it is with any other language, the more it is spoken and shared by everyone in an environment, the easier it is to become fluent in it.

Children learn through their senses. Think about this for a moment. Everything, especially in the natural world, can be experienced using all your senses. Everything can be taken in

through sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and intuition. Multi-sensory awareness is our innate

ability and it can be developed so we more deeply experience multi-sensory living.

To what purpose would multi-sensory living serve? You say you and your kids are already in stimulus overload!

I am asking you to consciously learn a new language. Gently, turn your attention away from the day, away from the stressors. Bring your attention inward to your breathing. In the breath is the clearing space where something new can happen. It is open, expansive, healing. Start with the breath; add a word, phrase, image, sound or touch stone and you learn your ABCS.

Inner balance is another term for homeostasis. When we pause and take three, deep letting go breaths, we begin to allow our bodies to be conscious to us. So that we learn the language of the bodys warning signs of stress overload. And then notice where the tightness and tension is located, breathe into that place and start the process of stress reduction.

The following are a multi-sensory series of relaxation techniques designed to increase your childs ability to learn her ABCS. These are essential for anyone who wants to calm the mind, body and spirit. Try them all, one after the other (1-5) or one at a time.

  1. VISUAL Take three, deep letting go breaths. Stand or sit in front of a window overlooking your garden, your backyard; or find a photograph of a beautiful place in nature. Now, look more closely- what do you see, really? If you are looking outside, notice the wind moving the leaves and flowers. In the photo, you can zoom-in on the colors. Let yourself stay focused with the object in front of you.

2. AUDITORY Take three, deep letting go breaths.with your child. With your eyes open or eyes closed, ring a bell or chime and follow the sound for as long as you can hear ti. A gentle sound

like a bell sound is a nutrient to the human nervous system. Ring the bell again, now listen to the sound of your own breathing. This is a good way to start slowing down and then listening to your body.

3. KINESTHETIC Your child may be a kinesthetic learner, one who feels in his body the vibrations of this environment.. Take three, deep letting go breaths. Bring you childs

attention to her body. Ask: What do you feel? Tight knot in stomach, sad, mad, happy?

When ever you notice your self becoming upset- you can place an elastic band on your wrist

then you can snap it lightly to remember to breathe. Pull on the elastic band around your wrist and say to your self: snap out of it!

4. OLFACTORY Take three, deep letting go breaths. Holding a bottle of lavender essential oil,

smell the fragrance of the aroma from the bottle. Because our sense of smell is a powerful and immediate stress reducer, it is an effective method of changing what we are focused on that is

stressing to a sweet smell that is pleasurable to you.

5. TASTE Take three, deep letting go breaths. You can use your breathing to practice eating

slowly and mindfully. Taking a raisin or a small bite of food, bring all your attention to the sensations of eating. Try chewing twenty times then swallowing. Really taste the sweetness of the raisin or food you are eating.

6. SIXTH-SENSORY Take three, deep letting go breaths. Open your inner vision, your in- sight; the sight in you, in your imagination. Imagine a picture of a doorway opening to a wide open space like the blue sky above you. Breathe in fully; breathe out fully. Opening to your imagination by closing the visual channel will almost immediately reduce the level of distraction, confusion and anxiety you are experiencing. Take a moment, keeping the eyes closed to just breathe. What do you see? Hear? In the breath is a clearing space where something new can

happen. It can be peaceful, stay as long as you like as just listen.

Your breathing is with you all the time and you can use it whenever you find yourself

getting caught up in stressful moments. Select one of the above six sensory relaxation

techniques, perhaps visual. Look out the window at the sky. Even though we

may have upset feelings and want shut down our emotions. Use your breathing to create

space so you can pause, breathe. Be present. You are learning how to make friends with all

your emotions- angry, sad, hurt, scared, happy. This ability to be fully present creates the new.

By taking the time and space to be conscious of your own physical response and feelings in a given situation, you can actually create more time and space to receive meaningful information and deeper wisdom from which to act in a way that is helpful and supportive.

Please leave a comment about your multi-sensory experience and get a free guided imagery