Written and narrated by Chanel Tsang
This is the final episode of Season One! Thank you for listening along with us. Today we are going to show gratitude and salute the sun, without which life on earth would not be possible. Let’s travel to space and learn more about the amazing sun! And make sure you listen to the end to hear an exciting announcement about Peace Out Season Two!
A relaxation story for children ages 5 – 12
Salutations, friends! One of my favourite books as a child was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I always cry when I read it. I even remember reading it again with my Gr. 5 students one year for our book study and actually starting to tear up right in class! But at least it was a good opening to talk about feelings and the power of words and literature.
So what are salutations? I first heard of this word from Charlotte’s Web. When Charlotte first meets Wilbur the pig, she greets him by saying salutations and explains that they are just her fancy way of saying hello or good morning!
Now that we know that, what are “sun salutations”? In yoga, sun salutations are a series of poses done in the direction of the sun, a way of recognizing and honouring the important role that the sun has in our lives—without the sun, life on our earth would be impossible. Not humans, animals, insects, or plants. The earth would be too cold. We need the sun’s warmth and light to survive.
The sun is so important that some ancient cultures even worshipped the sun! They would build structures out of rock to track the sun’s movement and would also chart the seasons and interesting or special sun events like solar eclipses and created calendars. Why did they do all this? Because they knew how important the sun’s impact was on their lives. And today, some scientists dedicate their lives to studying heliophysics, the study of the sun and its impact on the solar system.
Today, let’s salute the sun and show our gratitude, how thankful we are for it, by doing our own sun salutations.
In one of our previous relaxation stories, “A Trip to the Moon,” we climbed aboard my spaceship called The Star Bouncer. Let’s get into it again so that we can view the sun from space, though we won’t be able to get too close since the sun is just too bright and hot for us! But we’ll get as close as we safely can!
Okay, climb on board The Star Bouncer now. Lie down on the floor or on your bed, facing your feet to the sun if you can. Make any adjustments needed to make sure you’re comfortable. Turn your palms up so that they’re facing the sky. Give your legs a wiggle and then let them fall wherever they want to naturally on the floor. Close your eyes again. We’ll countdown to blastoff with the Calm Down Countdown.
As I count down, you can try taking a deep breath in through your nose as I say the numbers, and breathe out slowly through your mouth in between the numbers. Ready?
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
We made it, we’re in space! It’s so quiet and calm and dark up here. You can see the stars shining brighter and bigger than we can from earth. And speaking of earth, can you see it in your mind’s eye? Look down there at that blue and green marble.
Take another deep breath in…and let it out.
Imagine the room you are in. Think about how big it is, how many people it can fit in it. Now think about the building this room is in. And now the neighbourhood. I wonder how many buildings are in this neighbourhood. I wonder how many people live and work here every day? Now let’s think about your city. How many people, pets, animals, cars move through the city. And now think about your province or state and how many cities it can hold, including all those people and animals and buildings and farms and forests and parks…
Now let’s expand our view further, like we’re zooming out with a camera. How many provinces, territories, or states are in your country? Can you imagine just how big that is?
And now let’s move back a bit further. How many countries fit in your continent?
There are seven continents on planet earth: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, North America, South America. Within each continent there are millions of people, billions of animals…
Planet earth is huge! But it is a tiny speck compared to the sun. How many planet earths do you think can fit in the sun? 300? 5,000? 800,000?
It would take 1.3 million earths to fill the size of the sun. 1.3 million!
When you’re ready, slowly lift yourself up to a seated position facing the sun. Cross your legs if that’s comfortable for you. We’re nearing the closest possible spot near the sun. But the sun is so big and bright that we have a really good view of it. And your spacesuits have very strong, special built-in sunglasses that will protect your eyes from the strong UV rays, which is why you should never stare directly at the sun.
We’re going to orbit around the sun. That means that we’ll rotate around it. In real life, this, of course, would take a very long time. It takes the earth a whole year to rotate around the sun! But we’re just going to fast-forward it a little in our imaginations. So, with your eyes closed, sit up tall and lift your chin so that it is parallel to the ground. Roll your shoulders back. And now slowly rotate your upper body from the waist in a circle. Keep breathing as you do.
Now, come to a gentle stop at the centre. We’re going to rotate the opposite way now. Go ahead.
And come to a stop in the centre again. Well done!
Right now, I want you to keep your eyes closed. Let’s try something different. Can you see the inside of your eyelid? It probably just looks black and like nothing. Now open your eyes…and when you close them again, try looking at the inside of your eyelids again. Close them now and look. Is it still dark? Some of you may see what seems like a red or yellow light shining on your eye lids! Isn’t that neat?
The sun not only gives us light, but heat too. What is the hottest summer day you’ve experienced? For me, it was probably a day that reached about 38 degrees Celsius, which is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty hot, isn’t it? Well, the sun’s core is much hotter than that. It is about 15 million degrees Celsius or 27 million degrees Fahrenheit! So you can imagine why we’re not going to be able to get that close to the sun!
Let’s warm our hands now. Rub your hands slowly together. By rubbing your hands together, you are experiencing friction. Friction is a force that opposes two moving surfaces, right now, those are your hands. And friction causes heat because the molecules on your hands are now moving faster and have more energy. This causes them to heat up and is what makes your hands feel warm. Let’s rub our hands a little faster now. Listen to that shh shh shh sound. Focus on that as you rub them for a few more seconds.
You can stop rubbing your hands now. How do they feel now? Warmer?
Stand up now. Make sure you have room all around you for some bigger movements now. Stand tall and put your hands on your hips. Move your feet right under your hips.
Now place your palms together in front of your heart, finger tips pointing up. Close your eyes. Stand strong and proud. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this a couple more times on your own now.
Let’s keep our palms together and slowly send them up high over our heads, like they’re a rocket ship shooting up towards space! This next part might be a bit tricky so you can open your eyes if you need to. Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground and that you’re standing strong. And now, with your hands still over your head, slowly, slowly lean back just as far as you can without losing your balance. Now come slowly back to standing straight again.
Very nice work, everyone! Let’s lie down on the floor or your bed again. Make sure you’re very comfortable because we’re going to relax from head to toe now for the next couple of minutes.
Let’s imagine that we’re lying down outside, on the grass, with the warm sun shining down on us. And let’s pretend that there is a ray of sunlight that is gently warming the top of your head. The warmth from that ray of light is making your head feel loose and relaxed, and it’s sinking deeper into the grass and the ground. The light has moved to your neck, and you can feel your neck relax. If the back of your neck feels tense, feel it loosen up.
The light is traveling to your shoulders now. Try shifting your shoulders a little so that they’re gently stretched out and not bunched up together. Keep your head and neck loose too.
Now the light is on your stomach. Do you need to shift your body so that there is no tension in your back? GO ahead and do that now if you need to.
The light is moving to your legs. Give your legs a wiggle and then let your knees drop open, relaxing your legs on the floor.
The light is shining on your toes now. Point your toes and then flex them so that they’re point towards your nose. Point them again and then flex. And now let them go loose.
Take deep breaths in through your nose and release it slowly through your mouth. Keep breathing like this as we talk a little bit about gratitude.
Gratitude is being grateful or thankful for something or someone. Today’s story was all about the sun and our gratitude for how it makes life on earth possible. We did a lot of movement today so let’s say a silent thank you to our minds for being able to focus on the movement and images that we talked about, and to our bodies, for being able to do the movements we were able to do.
And finally, here’s what the entire Bedtime FM team and I are grateful for: you. Thank you for listening along with us, during our very first season of Peace Out! We are so grateful to the grown up who found us for you too. Thank you for making time in your busy day to allow your children to pause, focus on the present and reflect. Please think about leaving us a review to help other families and teachers find us.
I’m about to start my summer break here. So I’m going to take the next two months to write and record stories for Season Two of Peace Out, which will start on August 28th, 2017, the week before school starts here in Canada. Subscribe to Peace Out on your podcast app so that you don’t miss us when we get back!
Guess what? We’re going to do something different for Season Two and we’ll need your help! Our stories will still focus on breathing, relaxation, and gratitude, but we’ll also be following along the adventures of one character!
The new character will have fun adventures with their friends and will explore a new emotion each week. I’m so excited about it and cannot wait to share it with you when we’re back on September 25th.
Until next time, Season 2 on September 25th, peace out…and peace within.
Peace Out is a mindfulness and relaxation podcast for children and is part of the Bedtime FM network. We’re also a proud member of Kids Listen, a grassroots network of amazing children’s podcasts. You can listen to our entire Season 1 at bedtime.fm or subscribe to Peace Out on iTunes, Stitcher, and GooglePlay.
This episode of Peace Out was written and narrated by me, Chanel Tsang. I found all the facts about the sun at Nasa’s website for kids https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/sun/indepth. Sound and editing by Rob Griffiths. We love what we do and if you do too, you can become a patron or give a one-time donation to keep us up and running and ad-free by going to bedtime.fm/support.
Thank you again for a great first season. Peace Out was created for you and wouldn’t be possible without you. Today we saluted the sun, and now I salute you: thank you for listening and thank you for being you.
Did you enjoy this story? Why not take a look at some of our other children‘s relaxational and mindfulness stories?