Life in general can be stressful. Having difficulty processing sensory information can make life even more stressful. Giving children a tool they can use to manage and reduce stress may help them learn better, sleep better and feel more connected in life.
Guided relaxation techniques use the power of imagery and suggestion to guide the listener into deep states of relaxation. A child can be brought to a place where the worries of life are left behind and he or she is free to relax completely.
A Visit with The Worry Witch is a favorite of the children in my Yoga classes and is available on the Chill Children CD. Enjoy the script below. Read it slowly to your child in a quiet place in your home, or even outside.
This practice helps children create an internalized place they can return to at a moments notice when feelings of overwhelm arise and a place where they can leave their worries behind. Your child may just ask to visit the worry witch every day!
A Visit with the Worry Witch
Lie back in rest pose.
Have your feet slightly wider than your hips, palms up, out away from the side of your body, lying on your back.
Feel your whole body relax.
Feel the weight of your heels relax into the floor.
Feel the weight of the back of the legs, the hips and your back on the floor.
Feel the weight of the back of the hands, back of the arms, and the back of the head.
Feel the whole body heavy, soft and relaxed.
Tune in to the natural rise and fall of your own breath.
Breathing in as your belly expands. Breathing out as your belly settles back.
Breathing in and out — in and out.
Imagine you find yourself in a beautiful forest. This forest feels very friendly and you can feel the light streaming in through the trees. You walk along the path through this forest and you feel the soft earth beneath your feet. You walk along until you come to a clearing and there you see a gate. The gate is part way open and next to the gate sits a silly looking lady. She has silver sparkles in her hair and she is wearing a pink polka-dotted dress. She looks up at you with a silly smile and bright sparkling eyes. This is the Worry Witch. The Worry Witch is stitching. She has a quilt on her lap that she stitches and stitches. And next to her is a big basket full of fabric scrapes and who knows what else. You walk up to the Worry Witch and she tells you that, because she is the Worry Witch, you can leave in her basket all of your worries — anything that has been bothering you, has you feeling sad or scared or worried — you can just put right in that basket. The Worry Witch will use it to stitch into her beautiful quilt.
You leave all your worries with the Worry Witch and you enter through the open gate. You look around and see a wonderful place. It feels familiar – like you have been here before. Notice the sights, the sounds, the smells, and maybe even the tastes in this special place. Notice what it feels like to be here. This is a special place just for you. And here you can relax completely without any worries or concerns. Here you are free to be who you truly are — full of peace, joy, and love. Now have a minute to relax and enjoy this place completely.
After having had all the time you need to relax, it’s time to come back. You look around one more time and know you can come back to this special place any time by remembering what this place looks like, sounds like, smells like and feels like. You walk back out through the gate and see the Worry Witch there stitching away – crafting a magical quilt out of all the worries she has been given. You wave goodbye and she flashes you a silly smile as her sparkling eyes shine. You walk down the path, through the forest, feeling your feet on the forest floor and the light shining through the trees. You walk along until you find yourself resting right here.
Become aware of the room that you’re in now.
Feel your body on the floor and feel your breath.
Draw in a deeper breath as you wiggle your toes and fingers.
Begin to move and stretch your body — slowly, slowly coming into a more wakeful state.
When you are ready, roll off to your side and rest there for a moment.
Roll up to sitting and notice how you feel.