“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” ~ Dalai Lama
As more adults understand and appreciate the benefits of yoga and meditation to combat mounting stress in daily lives, teaching children mindful practices too can go a long way in shaping their future.
Introducing yoga and meditation for children at a young age can help them to connect to their own inner source of calm and assure them a healthy adulthood.
Nowadays, I’ve seen children highly equipped with technological gadgets. Parents also encourage their children to be good with technology, which is not a bad thing, but at the same time a child should also be encouraged to play outdoors, spend time in nature, as these activities helps a child to evolve and grow.
A detailed research by Princeton publication suggests that children who tend to spend more time on computers and gadgets fall prey to illness and depression later in their lives. They are also prone to aggressive and violent behaviour. In such challenging times, yoga and meditation is the need of the hour.
Much research has been done to study the impact of childhood stress on one’s adulthood.
Our personality and the way we perceive life is largely based on our conditioning and the events (pleasant or unpleasant) we underwent as a child. If, as a child, we were fearful and panicky, as an adult too, we continue to show such behaviour and issues.
Children who learn yoga and meditation will become more aware about themselves and their surroundings. It helps them to regulate their own emotions and learn how to pay attention inside and out. It gives them a sense of center and, therefore, resilience.
According to a 2004 study of 8 to 13-year-old boys with ADD, practicing yoga once a week for five months resulted in increased concentration, mental and physical discipline and improved confidence among participants.
Teaching our children the importance of mind, body and breath through yoga can help them concentrate and focus. Taking our mind and body for granted is a modern-age phenomenon and consequences of this phenomena is deteriorating the quality of our lives.
If the younger generation is made to understand the importance of mind and body, there will be a positive shift in the world.
Meditation is a great form of energy therapy and even five minutes of meditation everyday can help children in being creative, imaginative and intuitive individuals. They will recognise their potential unique personality and comfortably settle down in being themselves.
In times where peer pressure is on the rise, meditation will help them to face life with greater belief in their potential. A research states that meditation also reduces impulsiveness among children.
How does one Begin Yoga and Meditation for Children?
One can begin with few simple steps for example, asking kids to focus on their breathing for five minutes. By simply noticing their breath, how their chest rises and falls with the breath, helps them to be in the moment. Then gradually teach them to close their eyes and breathe for 15 minutes.
Give them something to look at (at the sky if its outdoors or on the ceiling if they are lying down). Ask them to relax their gaze by trying to see out the sides of their eyes (it uses the peripheral vision which helps to relax the brain). Do not force them, give them time to get comfortable with it.
One can start with mermaid pose or tree pose and there are several yoga poses that can be extremely fun for children. Here is a chart that shows few asanas: