Kids don’t get enough quiet time. They live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don't think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children's lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better. Their heads are going all the time, and it is human nature for us to find fault in all that we do. Meditation, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. It can set their future on a nourishing and creative course. Meditation builds awareness.
when I was growing up we had the pasture. A place to go and just sit. I can see why Joseph Smith went to the grove. He had probably been there many times to just sit and be quiet. If you don’t teach your children to be quiet, they have no idea there is a spiritual Being inside of them. They have to be able to connect to their soul.
Children below age eight do not need much formal meditation training. It is more important for these children that their parents learn meditation and carry yogic principles into their homes. Children absorb the energy of the environment. If their parents practice some form of self-development, their children will grow up in a healthier, more relaxed and aware environment.
Parents need to practice meditation techniques that increase their own capacity for awareness in the midst of their busy lives, so that they can be more present and available to their children. The child needs to know that a parent is really interested in them, is really listening to and attending to them. At the same time, parents need to learn how to allow children to be themselves and to foster each child's own unique being and abilities.
It is different to teach children how to meditate then it is to teach adults. Meditation techniques for children can help them relax and focus better during school, so that they can concentrate and memorize more effectively. From the spiritual perspective, good meditation techniques teach children self-awareness, encourage them to be themselves, and help them face life with greater belief in their potential. Meditation is a process that supports the growth of the body-mind of the child, fosters the development of each child's own unique personality, and supports creativity and expression.
Here is an exercise to help children under eight have body awareness. Playfully instruct the child in body awareness by saying, "Feel that you are a statute until I count to 10. Now bend your elbows and now straighten your arms." We give similar instructions with the legs and may ask them to wiggle their toes, and so on. This takes their awareness through the body.
Once children have developed a little body awareness, we can teach them to listen to and follow outside sounds.
Here are 3 simple exercises for children above eight.
Start by teaching them to breath: have them inhale until the belly expands, and exhale until the belly goes in, have them say aloud or just in their mind “Inhale (belly) out, exhale (belly) in”.
Give them the mantra, “peace begins with me” and use a mudra with it, touching thumb to first finger say “Peace”, touching thumb to middle finger say “Begins”, touching thumb to third finger say “With”, touching thumb to pinky finger say “Me”. The mudra helps them stay connected to their mantra.
One last simple breathing exercise: 4 breaths in through the nose, and one long breath out through the mouth.
Kids need to have time to lay on the grass and watch the clouds.
Nancy Adams Certified Thai Yoga Therapist
Certified Yoga Instructor
and Ayurveda ConsultantThese are my own thoughts. I sometimes take writings from others to support my own ideas.