From Classroom To The Cushion - The Benefits of Meditation For Children

With learning and emotional disabilities increasing, and a pandemic that impacted students globally — educators and parents are looking for alternatives to medication to help support children's academic and social emotional needs. Students face many more learning and emotional challenges in the classroom than ever before.  

What is Meditation? Meditation is the time you set aside for yourself to help relax your mind and your body.  Sometimes meditation is confused with being a religion.  It is not a religion and is non-secular.  Many adults meditate. I meditate. I enjoy the positive benefits I feel from my daily practice, and then it occurred to me -- why aren't we doing this in the classroom

 

Why Meditate? According to the CDC's data and statistics on children's mental health,  ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.  As a teacher, I observed this first-hand.  The tendency is to address this issue through medication.  Let's face it --  kids were feeling stress before the pandemic and they are feeling it even more in our post-pandemic world.  It's not all doom and gloom however, and the science is looking to meditation for the answers with many positive results. 

A 2016 study in Frontiers in Psychology  measured emotional well-being of 7-9 year olds and found that a school-based mindfulness program improves higher order thinking and helps students become more engaged and positive learners. 

Additional positive results from meditation include improvements in self-regulation, focus, empathy, coping strategies, self-awareness, optimism and gratitude.  The Dalai Lama has said If Every Child In The World Would Be Taught Meditation, We Would Eliminate Violence From The World Within One Generation.” Amazing results from a practice that takes only a few minutes daily while building community in the classroom.

How Do I Meditate?

Meditation starts with your breath -- a specific type of breathing called belly breathing.  Belly breathing is a deeper, comforting form of breathing that allows for calm, restorative air flow. Once you find the rhythm of your breath, you will notice your body responding to your breath.  You can choose to accompany your breath with relaxing background music or not -- remember it's all about the breath. (#justbreathe)

The buzz word "re-imagine" has been heard a lot throughout the year and a half that we spent in lockdown.  If we are really to re-imagine education, let's start with the breath.  The perfect time is now to implement from classroom to the cushion. (#classroomOM)

 

Namaste

 

Thank you to Art Burns from Art Burns Coaching for the perfect tag line!

 

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