When speaking and acting it is essential that we are relaxed, if not we become tense. This becomes a problem as it restricts our breathing making it harder to speak clearly and project well. If the body, especially the shoulders, becomes tense it makes it all the more difficult to move and you end up looking rigid and uncomfortable. Tension makes it more difficult to breathe and in extreme circumstances the lack of oxygen can cause you to faint.
An exercise that is useful to teach children how to relax is getting them to lay on the floor on their backs. You then ask them to tense their whole body, hold for two counts, give a big sigh then relax. A good way to check they are very relaxed is to go round and one at a time lift their arms and legs. This technique allows the whole body to become relaxed.
The Witch in the Toy Shop was also a popular exercise. One pupil is the witch while the others pretend to be toys in a toyshop. They must stand perfectly still and wait for the witch to enter the toyshop. The witch then casts the spell on the toys making them alive and allowing them to move around the toyshop. The witch then casts another evil spell that causes the toys to melt into a puddle. This exercise is particularly useful as it teaches children about relaxation while allowing them to be creative and use their imagination.
Another exercise is the art of fainting. The students kneel up on the floor, than act out a way of dieing such as being shot, eating a poisoned apple like Snow White or any other way they wish. They then breathe in, stiffen and hold then relax into the collapsed position on the floor. This correct position is laying on ones side with the bottom arm outstretched supporting your head and the other arm bend in front to stable yourself and stop you rolling onto your front. Both legs should be inline with your body with the top leg outstretched and the bottom one tucked in slightly. This is an imaginative exercise but also...