Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a mind-body technique that tames stress and helps kids become more aware of the sensations that go hand-in-hand with tension. It involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group and with regular practice PMR helps keep stress in check. Science tells us PMR activates the parasympathetic nervous system (triggering the relaxation response) and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.
Kids enjoy their trip to The Magic Land of Chi more when they’re in a comfortable position, on a yoga mat and in a quiet space free from distraction.
Daily practice is key to receiving its full benefits, but kids can become bored with the same storyline after awhile. Feel free to get creative, enlisting your imagination to create new scenarios to achieve the same results.
A trip to The Magic Land of Chi is especially helpful at night. The release of feel good brain chemicals can promote relaxation and better sleep
A TRIP TO THE MAGIC LAND OF CHI
A Progressive Relaxation Sample Script.
Best for ages 5-9
“Lie on your back and close your eyes. Notice your breathing. In and out, in and out. Now, take a deep breath, filling your belly and sigh it out . . . Let’s do that again: take a deep breath, filling your belly and sigh it out . . . We are going to take a trip to the Magic Land of Chi, where you can relax and chill out.
To get there, we need to fly. Reach your arms up towards the sky, reaching, reaching up and then slowly lower them back to the ground. You are now hovering in the air! You might notice that your body is becoming more relaxed. Let’s try that again. Reach your arms up. Up. Up. And slowly lower them towards the ground again. When they’ve touched the ground, take a deep breath in. And out. In. And out.
Now that you are hovering in the air, you must steer yourself to the Magic Land of Chi. Press down on the ground with one of your heels. Press down. And relax. Let’s do it again with the same heel. Press down, down, down. And relax. Nice work!
Let’s steer now with the other heel. Press your heel down on the ground. And relax. Again press down, down . . . and relax. Nice! Notice the difference between a tense body and a relaxed body.
This time, let’s just hover. Go ahead and press down with both heels—press them into the ground, tightening your muscles all the way up your leg to your hip. Press harder, and harder, and relax. Take a deep breath in and let it out.
Wow, you’re really steering yourself well! And you’re almost there . . . you can see the Magic Land of Chi in the distance. But now you have to steer with your arms. Press down with one of your hands, press into the ground while tightening up the muscles all the way to your shoulder. Press harder, and harder, and relax. Let’s do that again. Press the same hand into the ground while tightening up your muscles. Press harder, and harder, and relax. Take a deep breath in, and let it out . . . Notice the difference between your steering arm and your other arm. Does one arm feel more relaxed?
Now let’s steer with the other side. Press your other hand into the ground, tightening up the muscles all the way along your arm to your shoulder. Press harder, and harder, and relax. And again . . . Press the same hand into the ground, tightening up your muscles. Press harder, and harder, and relax. Finally . . . you’ve done it! Take a deep breath in, and let it out. Breathe in, and out. Feel the difference in your body and mind.
Look! You’ve arrived at the Magic Land of Chi. Let’s land ever so gently. Reach your arms up one more time and slowly lower your hands towards the ground. When your hands reach the ground, take a deep breath in, let it go and smile because you’ve arrived.
Now that we’re here, we want to explore! Head out into the sand. Step right into it. Feel its warmth as your feet sink down. Spread your toes wide to feel the sand between them. Then crinkle them up, wiggling your feet deeper into that warm sand. And relax! Take a breath in, and out. Breathe in. And out. Try it again: spread your toes really wide and crinkle them up. Wiggle your feet deeper and deeper into the warm sand. Relax, feel your toes lose tension. Great work!
After all this fun, we are getting really thirsty! Let’s find a tree with your favorite fruit on it. Now, reach up to grab a piece of that fruit with one of your hands. Reach for that fruit, and once you have it, you can make juice! Now go ahead and squeeze all of the juice out. Keep squeezing it! And let go . . . Take a deep breath in and out. Let’s make some more juice! This time use your other hand. Reach for that fruit, and now that you have it, squeeze all the juice out! Keep squeezing. . . and let go . . . Take a deep breath in and out. Notice all that tension leaving your hands, your arms and your body. Take a sip, and feel all that cool, sweet juice flowing into your body.
Oh boy, look over there! Monkeys are waving at you! And they’re making silly faces! Let’s go play with them. Make a silly face too—wrinkle your nose, stick your tongue out, scrunch your eyebrows and squish your eyelids together. That’s a great face! Those monkeys will love it! Now, relax. Notice how different your face feels when it is tense, and when it is relaxed.
The monkeys are coming closer to see your silly faces. Let’s make another silly face. Wrinkle your nose, stick your tongue out, scrunch your eyebrows and squish your eyelids together. Stay like that . . . and relax. That was fun! Take a deep breath in, and let it go. Breathe in, and out. Look, the monkeys want to play some more. They want to tickle you! Suck your belly in to avoid their tickles. Try to touch your belly button to the floor. Keep sucking in . . . and relax! Let’s do that again . . . Suck your belly in, stronger this time. Keep going . . . and let it go. Just feel the tension leaving your belly.
Now, we’re going to trick the monkeys by pushing our bellies out. Go ahead and push your belly up to the sky like a balloon. Make your belly very round. Push your belly up and up, and let it go. Take a deep breath in and out . . . Breathe in, and out. Let’s do that again! Push your belly to the sky, even rounder this time. Try to make your belly look like a balloon. Keep pushing and then let it go . . . Nice job!
We’ve had a lot of fun in the Magic Land of Chi, but now it’s time to head home. So, let’s smile at the monkeys and wave good- bye, and let’s prepare for our trip back. Again, reach your arms up to the sky, to make sure that you’re hovering in the air. And now slowly lower them back down to the ground . . . slowly. When they reach the ground, you’ve arrived home safe and sound. Take a deep breath in, and out. Breathe in, and out. Open your eyes whenever you are ready.”