Children may benefit from meditation in the same way as adults do. Improved health and relaxation as well as broadened awareness can be some of the advantages of practicing meditation and relaxation. What are the specific aims for this age group?
Aims for this Specific Age Group
Teaching meditation to this specific age group of children between eight years and beginning puberty has the aim of supporting and balancing their physical and mental development, making it easier for them to deal with the onslaught of feelings, desires and urges that arise during puberty. However, there are also the more general aims like improving concentration, relaxation, self-awareness and connection to their innate goodness and humanity that also apply.
Meditation for Children from Eight to Puberty
The role of Meditation Teachers in Sydney play very essential role. Teachers and parents have to remember that children need a different approach to meditation. Children around the age of eight have developed enough to be ready for the first steps in meditation. But while their brains and minds have now matured sufficiently for some kind of inner work, they still need modified forms of practice – they are still children and neither can nor should practice like adults.
According to yogacharya and psychotherapist Dr. Swami Shankardev, there are three spiritual meditative practices which are appropriate for children of that age group. They are sun salutations (surya namaskars), alternate nostril breathing and mantra chanting. All these practices help smoothing the often rough passage through puberty by balancing the accelerated physical changes with equal mental development.
For example, sun salutations help balancing the life force (prana) and prevent it from being jammed up in the sexual centers. This exercise can help children not to be overwhelmed by the onset of their own sexuality and emotional upheavals. However, Dr. Swami Shankardev cautions to bear in mind that children shouldn’t hold the asanas (yoga poses) for too long as this could overstimulate the physical body. He also advises not to use poses that put too much pressure on the endocrine system and suggests to simply stay with the major yoga poses.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate nostril breathing (also known as Anuloma Viloma or Nadi Shodana) has the benefit of balancing both sides of the brain. Children can practice this simple form of breath control. However, they shouldn’t be taught to retain the breath. Simply observing the in- and outflow of the breath while alternating the nostrils in the yogic fashion is enough. This will help to calm and balance the mind.
Dr. Swami Shankardev praises mantras as the main meditative practice for this age group because chanting mantras can powerfully affect the brain in a positive way. He specifically mentions the Gayatri Mantra, a traditional Hindu mantra with universal meaning and appeal. The Gayatri is said to stimulate the intelligence and can be chanted by anyone regardless of his faith or religion.