Swinging is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. The rhythmical movements and repetitive pattern give steady, even input to the vestibular system.
Swinging is soothing and calming. If there is someone in your life with sensory isms, you know this to be true.
The Yoga tradition offers us a practice that replicates the rhythmical movements of swinging. This practice is known as “Sun Salutations”. It can be another wonderful way to feed the nervous system soothing sensory input especially for times when a swing just isn’t available.
What is Sun Salutations?
Sun Salutations is traditionally done at dawn to greet the sun and align body, mind and spirit. This sequence of movements is used to warm up the muscles, loosen the limbs and prepare the body and mind for the Yoga poses (asanas). Not only does this practice sooth and organize the nervous system, it increases mobility in the spine, stretches the front and back of the body and lubricates the joints. The rhythmical movement develops body awareness and coordination.
Sun Salutations for Classroom Movement Break
Sun Salutations is also the perfect movement break during the school day. Children enjoy making animal sounds as they move through these poses. Children also like to go faster and faster and then finish up with one final slow and mindful round. With your child or students, you can practice three to six rounds anytime to refresh and refocus.
Simple Sun Salutation
There are multiple variations of Sun Salutations. This one in particular is quite popular with children.
- Stand Tall in Mountain
- Inhale and Open your Wings by reaching arms over head.
- Exhale. Forward fold and step back into Plank position, like a push up. Then lower all the way down to the floor with your forehead to tops of the feet.
- Inhale. Push the hands down and lift the head and chest up into Cobra – Hsssss.
- Exhale and push back into Downward Facing Dog – bark and wag your tail.
After completing the five steps, reverse the steps. Step or jump up to Forward Fold, Inhale and Open your Wings, exhale and stand in Mountain.
This is one round. Repeat three to six times.
It is vital that all children are given the opportunity to move in an organic and meaningful way every day. When a swing is not available and vestibular input is needed, the sun salutations are simple, balanced, and enjoyable. A few rounds every morning or in the middle of the day can brighten the body, mind, and spirit.