Before my daughter, Maddie, could walk, even while she was still in diapers, she would spend hours drawing little circles on a piece of paper.  That was one of my first clues that she would be an artist.  But, also, it showed me how relaxing it was for her to become immersed in her drawings, completed absorbed in what she was creating.   This was the beginning of how art became one of our chosen relaxation practices that we would do both together and individually.   sunlight view

Lately we have been experimenting with Zentangle®, an art form developed by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts.  Zentangle®, per their website, www.zentangle.com, is “an easy to learn and relaxing method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns.”  Current brain science tells us that repetition is both calming for the brain AND how the brain learns new things. When the brain is calm, it is primed for learning and retaining new information.  Sustained attention, focus and enhanced memory is possible.  Critical thinking ability is improved.  Emotional regulation is easier to achieve.  Zentangle is a perfect way for your child to practice mindfulness since it requires calm focus on each small step to create the whole picture.  stair pic

At the bottom of the Zentangle® website, it reads:  “Anything is possible…..one stroke at a time.”  Zentangle® teaches kids about possibility and how BIG things can be accomplished through focusing on steps one small step at a time.  The same is true for relaxation practice in that bodies learn, become trained over time as we return again and again to the practice, starting from the very first deep breath.   All else builds from there.

swirlsThese two books have been invaluable resources as we learn the Zentangle® strokes.  Check them out!  We found our copies at our local Hobby Lobby, but they are also available on Amazon:

The Art of ZentangleThe Art of Zentangle®:  50 Inspiring Ideas for the Meditative Artist by Bremner, Brunell, and Raile:  http://www.amazon.com/Art-Zentangle-inspiring-drawings-meditative/dp/160058358X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1419137230&sr=8-3&keywords=Zentangle

 

Yoga for your brainYoga For Your Brain, A Zentangle® Workout by Sandy Steen Bartholomew:  http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Your-Brain-Zentangle-Workout/dp/1574216988/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1419137284&sr=8-10&keywords=Zentangle

 

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