AN AUTHOR from Byfleet has written a series of books aimed at helping children to build emotional resilience.

The Chakraji Childrens Relaxation Series is by Hansa Pankhania, who has also written seven books on adult and corporate wellbeing and runs a company giving wellbeing courses.

The series features Chakraji, a magical best friend, who passes on natural breathing and mindfulness-based techniques to the central character who is undergoing a stressful situation.

“The aim is that the child will learn to integrate this way of helping to alleviate stress, making this a spontaneous response to difficult situations,” Hansa said.

There are six books in the series, each centred around a different child.

“They are aimed at primary school age children and start with an everyday issue that the child is feeling upset about,” Hansa said.

 “The child slips into a dream where a miraculous bird takes the child away to meet the magical Chakraji who passes on a coping technique to the child which makes the upset disappear.

“On their journey back, the miraculous bird passes on positive affirmations that help the child even more. The child is encouraged to pass on the magic to the people around him or her and use the tips whenever he or she may feel upset again.

“The techniques can help children to stay calm, focused and emotionally resilient and introduces a range of different mindfulness-based breathing, relaxation and positive affirmation techniques, to enable children to build a repertoire of coping skills that can help manage stress throughout their life.”

The idea for the series came when Hansa was on a retreat with her writing group from the Midlands, where she lived for many years after leaving her native Kenya as part of the mass exit of people of Indian origin.

“One morning we were sitting on the deck of our narrowboat, sipping tea when a beautiful rainbow appeared.

“I started to talk about how the universal energy of the rainbow is depicted in all its colours, which are the same as the chakra point energies in our body and how we are all connected with the universe in this way.

“In our culture, the suffix ‘ji’ is attached to a name when you revere that person and that’s how the name Chakraji came about.”

Hansa said the books are also helpful for adults reading them with children.

“We have had overwhelming feedback that the adults reading the story to the child also feel calm and relaxed as well.

“I have 30 years’ expertise in helping adults to overcome stressful situations and enable them to live a happy heathy life.

“My expertise is in passing on simple natural techniques that do not cost anything and are easy to integrate in everyday life. I have made a commitment to share these.”

Hansa has also written a memoir, The Best of Three Worlds, about being a British citizen of Indian origin growing up in Africa and then moving to this country.

It explains that Asians were not expelled from Kenya, as they were in Uganda under the dictator Idi Amin.

“The government introduced the Africanisation policy which meant that a lot of jobs started to go to the African people, which was understandable after independence and there was the pressure for British subjects to move to England.

“I talk a lot about the colonial history and the fusion of the three sets of values that I was brought up with and the humanitarian values that bind us all together.”

When she was 17, Hansa followed some of her siblings to the Midlands, where an aunt lived, and moved to Byfleet about two years ago to be near her son and daughter and four grandchildren.

She is currently writing The Best of One World about sustainability and living in tune with nature and is a sequel to her first memoir.

“There will be a lot of Byfleet in the new book. I just love it here.

“Byfleet is very similar to Thika where I was born. It is about 26 miles from Nairobi and is a very small place with a very  close-knit community.

“Like Thika, Byfleet has got a lot of nature around it. The River Wey is on my doorstep and the canal is on the other side.

“I feel that I’ve come full circle,” Hansa said.

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