I often use guided visualization in the end of my YoKid kids yoga classes. Some of my favorites are the rainbow painting visualization and the special place visualization, so here I’ve taken the latter and given it a little holiday infusion. It has been a hit, several of my students yesterday told me that they ‘fell asleep’, others maintained gentle smiles with their eyes closed, and a few whispered out words here and there as I called out elements like “What do you smell?” and I heard little whispers “Hot cocoa” and “cookies”. I invite you to try this at home or with loved ones this holiday. It can be done at any time of day.
Invite the children to lie on their backs, palms facing upward, arms and legs outstretched in what we call “starfish” pose.
~Release tension in the body by asking them to first scrunch up their toes for a few seconds and then to release. Repeat this with the legs, belly, hands (making a fist and squeezing before releasing), and ending with the face, squeezing the eyes closed scrunching up the face, and then gently relaxing with the eyes remaining closed. And now the fun can begin!
~I begin with us arriving outside santas home. Sometime we climb a big snowy hill to reach his front door, sometimes we arrive by boat in an icy lake and climb out of it. We walk up to his door and imagine what the door looks like. What color is the door, is there a peephole, does the door have a unique shape to it. We knock on the door and it opens right up! We step inside and look all around.
~Imagine the sights inside of Santa’s home. Does it have high ceilings, wood floors, a fireplace? Are their sofas or pillows on the floor? What color are the walls or are they log cabin walls?
~Let’s take a seat in front of the fireplace and feel the warmth. Now we imagine the people (or pets) that are with us. Is Santa sitting with us?
~ What about the smells? Can we smell cookies baking? A fresh cut christmas tree? The smell of the fireplace?
~ And sounds? Are we laughing with our loved ones? Are dogs barking? Can we hear the crackling of the fireplace?
~ To complete our guided visualization, I leave the children with a long moment of silence to finish out their visions however they may please. It’s quite magical! Give them about 3-10 minutes depending on their age and when complete, if it’s bedtime, finish with a kiss and a big hug. If it’s in the daytime, ask them to roll onto their side and meet you in a seated position for a quick discussion before taking off.
Guided visualization creates a space for children to feel safe, secure, and warm, and gives their minds freedom to think creatively without limits. If you have any favorite guided visualizations, please do share in the comments section below.