6 Bodymind Training videos you can use
to help your kids–and yourself!
These videos are designed for children with autism spectrum disorder, but they will be helpful for any children–and for adults too! The somewhat emphatic openings are to attract attention; some may find this part a little jarring, so be careful with volume settings.
These represent a small sample of the planned range of videos. Their names (Peace, Cool Down, Clarity, De-Stress) indicate their purpose; we also have videos to cultivate Strength and Love.
Ideally the kids should actually imitate the movements, not exactly but expressively.
The videos are designed so that just watching them has a similar effect, using the ‘mirror neuron’ discoveries of neuroscience.
If you are able to have the whole class do the movements together, it is possible to create a wonderful group feeling which can have positive residual effects throughout the day!
Cautions: Although most kids should find the contents pleasant, it is always possible that, due to idiosyncratic past experiences, some children may react with fear. If this happens, immediately stop the video and reassure the child.
On the other hand, it could also happen that the relaxation induced by the video might allow the child to feel suppressed sadness. Depending on the situation, you could choose to gently encourage the child to allow the sad feeling; this has the potential to be very healing.
The video below is PEACE 1. You can ask the child to imagine something very beautiful and wonderful in the sky above. Ask him or her to pretend that they can bring this wonderful feeling down into their whole body! They can go as fast or slow as they like. If they want, they can imitate the child in the video; or, they can make up their own movements. When the child has done it a few times, have them pause and feel the lasting feelings in their body. Let them know they can bring these feelings with them into the rest of their day, and that they can just think of the motions any time to feel them again. This is a very calmng video. Use it especially if the child is agitated, anxious, or too much ‘in his or her head’.
This video, CLARITY 1, will be very useful for children who are bothered by distractions. Such sensitivity can lead to withdrawal, or to irritable outbursts. Showing the child a way of gentle pushing away distractions can enable the child to find more space, and to channel potentially disruptive impulses in a useful direction.
As before, allow the child to find their own movement expression, but at the same time to stay with the spirit of the practice. Remember that brain science has demonstrated that imagining something has the same effect on the nervous system as the actual experience; even if there is no change in the environment, this practice can greatly reduce distraction and can give the child tools for regulating her or himself.
This video, COOL DOWN 1, uses nature imagery to help calm uncontrolled thinking and rumination, and open the awareness to the positive qualities of the present moment.
The tapping on the head and neck help release tight muscles and stimulate acupuncture points, and the ‘flower opening’ movements help to connect the child to the social environment in a pleasant way.
This video is called Centering Down; it is for YOU, the teacher or care provider!
It is well known that providing care for a child with autism can be stressful, and calls for a calm, centered source of strength. This 4-minute video guides you in developing this! We encourage you to follow along with the motions and to look for the internal feelings mentioned in the videos. Once you have a sense of this, you can bring the Centering Down feeling with you into any stressful situation!
This video is Peace 2. The child is encouraged to make gentle flying motions with the arms and body. Whether the child just watches, or actually does the movements, this video tends to produce a soft, airy feeling of calm and freedom, and to open up deep natural breathing. The child should be allowed to improvise their own movements, but should be encouraged to stay with the calm ambience of the video.
This video is called DE-STRESS 2 (WAVES). As mentioned before, the child can just watch, or can imitate the motions, finding their own interpretation. The power and intrinsic groundedness of the waves can make this video useful when a child needs to discharge excess energy in a safe way! The waves can thunder and roar a bit, and then settle back naturally into gentleness.
A caution: if a child has been exposed to trauma around water, such as flooding, or near-drowning, this video may not be appropriate. The child should always be observed carefully at the start of the video for signs of distress.
Cool Down 1