Body scan practice and favorite place practice can be skillful explorations when working with very sick or terminally ill children. In this video unit Tsunma Jamyang explains how we can gently introduce these two guided practices to children.
First, in the body scan practice, we can begin by encouraging the child to explore the feelings in the body. As children work with this practice, they can learn how to re-frame their physical experience, and often can change their relationship with acute pain. As Tsunma-la points out, neuroscientists have observed how these types of exercises can create new pathways in the brain, allowing for different outlooks. In this video she suggest different techniques for allowing the child to relax into the body scan. Often, she observes, such practices may help a child to sleep better, particularly in the strange and often uncomfortable setting of a hospital or hospice situation.
When we ask a child to engage in favorite place practice, we do not need to know where that place may be—we respect the child’s own wishes as to whether he or she will share. But, we encourage them to sense the feelings, colors, sounds, smells and textures of their chosen place. This exercise helps empower children to take some charge over their environment and to rest in a place that feels safe and welcoming to them.