Meditation is an empowering and healing exercise for children
Meditation is great for quieting the mind and relaxing the body. There are numerous known health benefits of regularly practicing meditation including pain and stress relief, increased immunity, reduction of anxiety, and increased ability to remain calm.
Meditation techniques are something that can easily be taught to children and can help with building their self confidence, improving sleep as well as combating negative thoughts and behaviors.
My youngest son gets particularly frustrated and if this is not channeled positively can lead to outbursts of anger. I have found meditation to be extremely helpful for him, and we have done regular meditation with him since the age of three.
A candle provides ambience during the meditation
A simple technique to try at first is a guided meditation. This can be done at any time of the day, or even before bedtime if you choose. Find a nice quiet spot and close the curtains so there is very little light. Lay out a yoga mat or blanket for your child to lay on. If the weather is cool, add a thin blanket to cover him with. Or they can sit up, whichever they prefer. Light a candle or salt lamp and some incense.
You can start by telling your child to get comfortable on the mat and take some slow deep breaths in and out. Do this for a few minutes, until you are ready to begin the meditation.
Picture a star with it's bright clear light
Photo: Henryk Kowalewski, Wikimedia Commons
Next ask the child to picture a bright star in the sky, shining down on them. This star is just for them and can be any colour he or she chooses. Tell them to picture this star sending rays of light down into their body, with each breath they are inhaling the bright healing light and it is filling them with happiness and love. Get them to breathe out any anger or bad thoughts they may have. Let them know that whenever they feel sad or stressed they can once again imagine their star and its warm glow.
Now tell the child to picture a beautiful garden, flowing river, sandy beach or dark cave. You chose the setting which is appropriate for your child and his or her interests.
Talk and guide them through the setting and be descriptive. An example of this is "Picture yourself walking down a winding gravel path, it is a beautiful day outside and the air is crisp and clean. You can clearly hear birds singing a happy song. Just ahead of you there is a lush green garden filled with all your favorite flowers. You walk through among the flowers, smelling and admiring each one. They are such amazing colors like red, yellow and orange."
Picturing a scene from nature provides peace and tranquility
Photo:Daderat, Wimkimedia Commons
Then tell them to explore their place and you can add some adventure into the scene. Maybe they find a huge old tree and decide to rest under it for a while or discover one of their favorite animals and decide to stay a while and cuddle it. The scenery and settings in a guided meditation are limited only by your imagination.
Let the child know when it's time to leave their sacred place. Talk them through the journey of coming back down the winding path until they picture themself lying on their mat. Get the child to do a few more deep breaths and open their eyes when they are ready.
By practicing regular meditation with your child, you are helping them learn the peacefulness that can only come from within.
As the great Dalai Lama said "If every 8 year old is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world in one generation."