What do you do for release, to relieve stress? Life happens, the grass is not always green, and things do not always go our way. We must all find ways to deal and cope with stressful situations or we will explode and snap at others. For me, my release is running. Thank you to my friends and colleagues who started me on the running adventure. Your encouragement pushes me to press on and go for it. Many evenings after work I run with friends, and many Saturdays you can find me at a 5K (sometimes a 10K) race event. I am loving it and loving the running community. I feel happier and healthier than I have ever felt in my life. When stressful events happen at work and in the classroom, I find it much easier to deal with situations. My friends and colleagues are more important to me than an argument or a fight. I let it go and go with the flow while following policies and procedures required to operate a Christian preschool learning center and positive work environment.
Children are no different from adults in stressful situations and often react because of adult reactions as well. When adults learn to appropriately handle stressful times, they model appropriate reactions to children. In preschool, we teach children to think before they speak, to speak up for themselves when something or someone bothers them, and to walk away from unkind situations with potential for arguments and disagreements.
Yoga is an excellent way for learning to handle stressful situations. Yoga teaches us how to breathe and calm our feelings and emotions. When we learn proper breathing techniques, our bodies are calmer and we are less likely to snap at one another, which makes for smoother reactions with friends. Brain research shows us that movement and breath help to alleviate stress and anxiety. Our bodies are designed to move. Everyone can be happier and healthier.
Try these yoga movements:
“I am strong.” Pretend to be a surfer.
To do Warrior 2 Pose: From standing position, step one foot back, placing the foot so that it is facing slightly outwards. Take your arms up in parallel to the ground, bend your front knee, and look forward. Pretend to be a surfer and use your strength to catch tricky waves.
“I am kind.” Pretend to be a tree.
To do Tree Pose: Stand on one leg, bend your knee, place the sole of your foot on the opposite inner thigh, and balance. Sway like a tree. Think of trees being kind by offering shade, creating oxygen, and providing homes to animals.
“I am brave.” Pretend to be a skier.
To do Chair Pose: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and keep a straight spine. Hold your hands out in front of you, pretending to grasp ski poles as you fly down a ski run like a brave and fearless skier.
“I am friendly.” Pretend to be a dog.
To do Downward-Facing Dog Pose: Bend down and place your palms flat on the ground. Step your feet back to create an upside-down V shape with your buttocks high in the air. Straighten your legs, relax your head and neck, and look down between your legs. Think of being an eager and friendly dog.
“I am wise.” Pretend to be an owl.
To do Hero Pose: Drop your knees to the ground and come down to rest upright on your heels. Then pretend to be a wise owl perched on a tree. Twist your upper body one way and then the other.
Start slowly and focus on your child’s success. If your child doesn’t click with using movement as a calming down strategy, don’t push it. Leave it for a while, and then try again. Just like every strategy, nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution, so feel free to adapt and change the yoga method to suit your child’s interests and needs. Introducing the idea of using movement and breath to help their brains to re-boot and re-focus is what’s important.
Try these yoga movements and begin your exercise routine for your release and meet me at the next 5K race. See how much healthier and happier you feel, too.