My inner squirrel is doing pretty well the last few days, but I still had a lot of fun doing each of these exercises today. I hope you do too!
A SIMPLE CENTERING EXERCISE* – Stand with your knees bent and pay attention to the connection of your feet to the floor. Begin to sway, shifting your weight gently from side to side, from foot to foot. Notice when you feel yourself off balance and coming back into balance by finding the centre of gravity. Keep swaying and notice where in your body you feel centred. You can either keep going in this pattern or switch to moving forward and backward.
TALKING FUNNY** – Press the tip of your tongue against your lower teeth. Relax your tongue so that it’s like a jelly-fish. Now talk about anything at all from funny stuff to everything that is bothering you and let yourself laugh.
YAWNING** – Take a deep breath in. At the top of the breath, open your mouth wide and make yawning sounds. If you don’t have a natural yawn right away, just relax and do it again without trying hard.
JIGGLING** – Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend and straighten your knees just a little. Repeat over and over until you find a nice jiggling rhythm. Let all your body parts hang loose and flop.
Want to know some of the science behind this?
Talking Funny – This action relaxes the tongue which in turn flexes the palate and dura across the base of the brain to the occiput. As it does that it causes the free flow of the cerebrospinal fluid of the brain and spinal column, making us feel freer, more relaxed and less constrained by our circumstances, and who doesn’t need that.
Yawning – relaxes the throat, plate, upper neck and brain stem. This helps you notice the sensations in your body, increases saliva production, which improves digestion. It also increases the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps balance your mood by calming you if you are wound up or enlivening you if you are feeling gloomy. It also helps balance the flow of cerebrospinal fluid which helps to keep the brain and spine flexible. Who knew!
Jiggling – relaxes the joints, pumps the diaphragm and moves our body’s fluids. It also increases energy by stimulating metabolism and loosening us up when we are stiff or rigid.
*From Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline
**Also from Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes, but borrowed from Embodying Well-Being or How to Feel as Good as You Can in Spite of Everything for kids and adults by Julie Henderson