Ah! On that day I happily anticipated a wellness class with the first graders. I would address a favorite topic and share the technique of abdominal breathing for total relaxation. This would occur during their rest time which followed lunch and recess.
Picture this with me—a slightly darkened classroom where I stood amidst twenty some little ones stretched out on their backs. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing softly. (The first grade teacher had a marvelous practice of introducing her students to a “Composer of the Month.”). I thought she made a perfect choice for this occasion.
I began, “When you need to relax, you can do this with a special breath. First I want you to close your eyes. Listen to the piano playing. Now, just take a slow deep breath in through your nose. When you do that, make your tummy puff up like a ballon. That’s right! Good job. Now, breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this again and again—in through your nose, tummy up, and then out through your mouth, tummy down.” I watched them take intentionally slow breaths, as Beethoven soothed us all.
“Pretty soon your arms and legs will be all loose like a bowl of spaghetti,” I continued. I felt affirmed by Stephanie, right in front of me as she sighed, “Oh nurse, this is nice.” Next to her, Jody whispered, “Oh, this is SO relaxing.”
There was a brief pause—when a short distance away I saw Jason’s whole body suddenly tighten—his fisted hands and straight arms down at his sides, his legs stiffened, his face grimaced with eyes squeezed shut as he loudly proclaimed—“This is RIDICULOUS!”
That is the day Jason taught me humility about the universal effect of my beloved relaxation methods!