Mindfulness & Meditation - Week 4
This week, your child began to learn about the concept of Mindfulness. Through the story, Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda we heard why it is important to live in the present moment, as that is where life is happening! Our monkey minds however are always trying to pull us away from what we are doing and into another moment or place. Panda taught monkey (and us), that when we are working we think about working, when we are reading we are thinking about reading, and so on. Each of can all gain from this lesson, because it relates to us all! We often long to be more engaged and fully present while enjoy precious time with our children (this is practicing Mindfulness). However, it is common that we find our minds drifting away; as this is our monkey mind taking over! When our thoughts drift away from what we should be focused on, we just gently notice this and come back to the present moment (think of this as mind-training, like you train a puppy). When our thoughts drift we usually find ourselves in one of two places that don't serve our best interests: 1. We may find our thoughts dwelling on events of the past & this is where we usually find depression hiding. 2. We find ourselves planning and thinking about the future & this is usually where states of anxiety are housed! So, we just keep trying to find more time in present moment, as this is where we are really living fully and experiencing life! This week, try to create more moments of being mindful and see how this affects your energy and attitude! This is hard work, as a monkey mind needs lots of training, so be gentle & consider using the same mindfulness tools that your children are learning in the home!
One way to become more present and mindful, is through meditation. Yesterday your child made a meditation bracelet that they are pairing with a mantra. What this means... Each of the 18 beads on their bracelet are recited with their affirmation! (example: "I am good at math" or "I am calm"). The other "special bead" is their thankful bead. Here they take a moment to be grateful! You can use rosary beads, mala beads or even a mardi gras necklace as a tool to for the same intention!
Interesting "Yoga" Facts:
Another name for a prayer or statement of intention is a: mantra
In yoga, we call a meditation chain of beads a "Mala". These always have either 108 beads or a number divisible by 9. You can recite a mantra with each bead or take one breath per bead. This is a method of focus, setting intention and finding peace! The extra bead at the end is the 'teacher' bead, where we thank our teachers and influencers.
In yoga (and life) we may use Mantra Meditation for many reasons, such as quieting our minds, finding focus, empowerment of affirmation, prayer and to become calm!
Meditation has shown benefits for children. It can help your child:
- Quiet the “monkey mind” where thoughts jump around! This often happens when we are excited, nervous or scared!
- Learn to use beads with a mantra as a tool for finding focus. This helps stay on task & avoid distraction when reciting a mantra.
- Get a break from negative effects of stress! Meditation helps the mind to be fresh and inspired.
- It gives them an expansive and creative means to rest their minds and modify thinking. This break from ‘thinking’ can help them see things a different way which can help bring creativity and clarity.
- Learn to cope with difficult emotions. If your child is experiencing strong emotions lately, which is common for children throughout development & may look like: tantrums and tears, meditation may help them find balance in their whole system by supporting emotional development. Practicing meditation can helps rests the mind so that they are not overwhelmed by these strong feelings.
- Help learn to manage stress. Taking a meditation ‘time out’ can redirect thinking and allow us all to see that the tough times always pass! Sometimes we just need to stop and become still and quiet, then we start to feel better and get through stress!
In kids yoga we also have a finger mantra: PEACE BEGINS WITH ME. Your child can touch their thumb to each for fingers (one finger tap per word) This is a tool we always have with us to use and can never lose (inthe case that the prayer beads disappear! ;)