Photo by Kyle Stauffer

Photo by Kyle Stauffer

I remember my first yoga class that started off with chanting OM. It felt awkward and made me self-conscious but the energy that came from everyone chanting simultaneously was nothing like anything I had ever experienced.

Prior to that I should mention that I did practice a bit of Trancendental Meditation when a boyfriend convinced me to try it with him one summer during college. Again I remember both the feeling of discomfort with the unfamiliar and awe of the energy that group meditation creates.

Last year my old 14 year old lab would wake me up at 5am with her lonely bark and I would go downstairs to keep her company as she couldn’t make it upstairs with us anymore. On those mornings I started my day with meditation. I switched it up often from my TM mantra to repeating a morning prayer to listening to affirmations that I downloaded from a great website http://www.mythoughtcoach.com. I regretfully do not practice meditation daily anymore, but it did help me start the day more grounded.

Can children benefit from meditation?

I absolutely believe that they can. In my class of 8-11 year olds I play a recorded version of the meditation Sa Ta Na Ma. In this meditation you start by touching your first finger and thumb. With each sound you touch your next finger to your thumb. It makes me think of rosary beads. The music is a bit funky and hypnotic. If you were to meditate using Sa Ta Na Ma without the song, you would first say the words, then you would whisper the words and lastly you would think the words along with the finger touches.

I have children in my class that make sure that I don’t forget to play the Sa Ta Na Ma song before savasana. I think that meditating before savasana helps the kids settle into deep relaxation more quickly. One student told me that she often uses this meditation to calm herself down at home or when she feels sad.

For younger children whose attention is not as long, I do centering warm ups using sound. We sometimes take a deep breath and then draw out the sound different animals make or pretend we are bees and hum or buzz until we are out of sound. The kids love these exercises and it gives them the unique experience of group sound and energy creation. There is a great centering song by Karma Kids called Rub Your Hands (OM Song) that the kid also enjoy though it is a tad too long. I recently learned from a fellow yoga blogger that hand rubbing is a great way to stimulate both the right and left sides of your brain. Brain Gym. Great stuff.

Find a mantra, sound or song to use and give meditation a try with the children in your life. Let me know how it goes!

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