Teaching Children about Meditation

peace child

This month’s theme in my yoga classes is Mindfulness and Meditation.

Since I work mostly with preschoolers, ages 2 to 5, the idea of calming the mind can be a lofty and challenging concept to teach.  Young children may not really understand how  the mind is always going, but they DO understand that sometimes it can be hard to LISTEN or to FOCUS on learning  or SIT STILL in school.

Last week, I taught the children about the many ways to QUIET their BUSY MINDS by having the experience in their bodies of moving and dancing and then standing STILL…using their BREATH, LISTENING and VISUALIZATION to help their minds become CALM.  The Busy Minds Song I used helped show the contrast between the constant movement and “busyness” of the mind and the peace and quiet that we can learn to cultivate through these simple techniques of BREATHING, MEDITATION and YOGA.

This week, I explored MINDFULNESS and what it means to be mindful in our THOUGHTS, WORDS and ACTIONS.

mindfulmovements

I used the book Mindful Movements by Thich Nhat Hanh to explain how yoga is about the connection of our BREATH with MOVEMENT. There are 10 mindful movements in the book and many of them are similar to some of the yoga poses that the children are familiar with, so we practiced taking deep breaths in and out as we did each mindful movement 3 times.

I cued them before each breath…

Take a deep breath in and lift your arms up, breath out as you bring your arms back to your side.      

BREATHE IN….BREATHE OUT.

I explained that the movements were slow, which helps us bring our attention to our breath and our body, so we can be CALM inside.

The children really enjoyed breathing and following me, as we did the movements together.  I also added in some of their favorite yoga songs during class to mix it up a bit.

We ended class with a quiet guided visualization and the children were able to rest in Savasana, using their breath to send a calm, feeling from the top of their heads all the way down to their tip toes.

I just started an amazing CHILD MEDITATION FACILITATORS TRAINING and CERTIFICATION PROGRAM led by Sarah Wood Vallely to teach meditation to children and look forward to learning some new, creative ways to integrate meditation techniques into my classes!