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September 01, 2021
How does the topic of meditation make you feel? Some are unsure about it, assuming it is some mystical practice akin to hypnosis. Others embrace it and have experienced the many benefits that come from learning how to clear your mind and center your thoughts. But rarely do we consider teaching children mindfulness and meditation.
If you think meditation is some sort of hippie-based hocus pocus, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been a long-time supporter of teaching children about the mind-body connection. Childhood is a time of big changes—in bodies, emotions, and mental development. And, with many children carrying cell phones, they are more at risk than ever before of experiencing cyber bullying and peer pressure from a larger audience. Couple this with the academic, athletic, and social pressure of school and it’s easy to see why children need the principles of meditation in their lives.
To help you introduce meditation to your kiddos, regardless of their ages, we’ve broken the process down into 4 easy steps.
Find a spot that is free from distractions. A cool, dimly lit room is great and, if you can have soft instrumental music playing, even better.
Make sure your child has a comfy place to sit or lay down. If you have our Zubuton meditation mat, now is a great time to put it to use.
Consciousness of breath is best learned laying down. Once kids have mastered the technique, they can practice from a sitting position.
Your approach here will depend largely on the child’s age. Teenagers understand how to inhale deeply and exhale slowly, and may need only a little guidance and practice to achieve relaxation.
For younger children, have them place a small toy on their belly and ask them to make the toy go up and down as slowly as possible. The goal is to teach them how to control the cadence of their breath.
Once they have deep breathing down, ask them to close their eyes and think about a place they’ve been (or to imagine a place they’d like to visit) where they feel most relaxed. It could be the in the mountains, at the beach, or even their own room.
Once they’ve found their spot, encourage them to remember the place any time they feel anxious, stressed, or distracted. Remind them they can close their eyes, start breathing deeply, and go to their “special place” any time they choose—it’s like a superpower!
The length of your meditation sessions will depend largely upon the age of the child. As a rule, limit sessions to the number of minutes that correlate with your child’s age, plus one. So, a six-year-old child should shoot for seven minutes of meditation, while a 14-year-old teen tries for 15 minutes.
If, as they become more comfortable with meditation, they want to extend the session, go for it!
Like many other skills, the earlier a children can master meditation, the better off he or she will be. Learning to connect your body to your mind and how to center yourself in times of stress is a skill that will benefit your kiddos throughout their youth and into adulthood.
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November 04, 2022
Author Marcie Macari had this to say about childbirth...
“Birth is an opportunity to transcend. To rise above what we are accustomed to, reach deeper inside ourselves than we are familiar with, and to see not only what we are truly made of, but the strength we can access in and through birth.”
The process of shuttling new life into this world is nothing short of miraculous, and the transformations and adjustments that take place within our bodies to make this happen are breathtaking.
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