Meditation benefits are endless. I know, you “can’t” meditate. So how the F do you expect your child, who can’t sit still through dinner make it happen?
Five years ago, I would’ve said the EXACT same thing. In fact, I did. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I’d sit in the mediation pose and boom… thought… another thought… a thought Olympics, then, I’d quit.
Now, I can sit in a quite or even a noisy and meditate easily. So, what’s the difference?
I HAD TO UNDERSTAND THE WHY BEHIND MEDITATION
Like most things in life, everything shifted when the WHY was bigger than the WHY NOT.
I was an overwhelmed Mom with a defiant teenager in her last year of high school, and a little one still in diapers. I wasn’t sleeping well and we still had multiple businesses that needed my attention. My time was definitely not my own and I didn’t feel like myself. My inner-being knew what I needed and nudged me to walk into the yoga studio on my block.
I had done yoga once, in college. Day one, I was terrified. I felt like the tin-man, but I also knew my body needed this. I crept into the dimly lit room, went all the way to the back and just tried to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. After a few classes, I was able to figure out the movements. After a few months, I no longer needed to watch the demonstration, I could close my eyes and just flow. Then one day it happened. I hit a point of mind-body connection that I hadn’t felt since the birth of my baby Sofia.
The class flew by, I barely remembered what we did. Then, we got into our final pose, the beloved shavasana, tears began to flow. I couldn’t control it or explain where it came from. But, the release felt so good. Then, I felt a tingle all over my body. It was like a energetic hug from the Universe. I was connected. Connected to what? You need to decide that for yourself. Maybe my inner-being, God, who knows. But it was real. It was emotional. It was addicting.
My daily 90 minute flow became a moving meditation. The experience was different every time, but one thing stayed the same, I knew when I was connected. I felt plugged in and recharged. My life began to shift. I became less stressed, I was more go with the flow (pun intended). I began to trust in my path, even though I couldn’t see past the next few steps. I started trusting my intuition over everything.
The meditation benefits that I experienced from my moving meditation where exactly what all the medical journals, experts and books talk about. My personal meditation benefits included better mood, better ability to deal with stress, my heart rate was lower and I was happier. It was life changing.
THERE’S NOT JUST ONE WAY TO MEDITATE
My journey through meditation began with yoga. It was what I needed at the time to start. But, I still struggled with just sit criss-cross-applesauce style meditation. My mind was still so busy, I knew the meditation benefits were immense, and I was curious to explore more.
I began diving into Gabby Bernstein’s books, the first, The Universe Has Your Back. With my book purchase, she had free downloads, which I was happy to try. I found it easier to stay focus when I was being guided. So, I downloaded more of her guided meditations. They were quick, each had a unique purpose behind it. Soon, I had a library of guided meditations.
Then 2020 happened. My mind began racing with all of the fears, panic, outrage, stress that the world was feeling. And, so was my husband’s. Except his was creating full-on panic attacks in the middle of the night. He tried everything from NLP therapists to sleep supplements. Nothing worked long-term.
Then, someone mentioned the meditation benefits of specifically transcendental meditation (TM). He had heard of it before, but never took action on learning it because the TM technique involves practicing 20 minutes twice per day, and needs to be taught by a TM certified instructor. But, at this point, he was ready to try anything. Again, the WHY became greater than the WHY NOT.
Shortly thereafter, he booked the class and began learning TM. The more consistent he was with TM, the more he had the TM meditation benefits of releasing the fear/anxiety and negative thoughts that were packed into his subconscious. The more clear his subconscious was, the lesser the panic. TM isn’t necessarily a spiritual practice, but it’s definitely a physiological one.
With the overwhelm of the world on my shoulders, and knowing how much it helped him, I decided to book a class. On day one, I learned why I originally “couldn’t mediate”. Ready for this?
I thought the point of meditation was to “keep my mind clear”. So when my to-do list or other thought came into my mind, I felt like I was failing. What I learned was each thought that comes up, comes from the subconscious, the more I allow the thoughts to come up and leave, the more my subconscious processes. The more my subconscious processes, the more clear my mind. The more clear my mind is, the less stress I have, my mood is better and I’m more present.
The goal of meditation isn’t to FOCUS on a clear mind. It’s to not focus at all. In TM you are given a silently-used sound called a mantra. It’s a word without meaning so it doesn’t provoke thought. When you find your mind wander, you come back to your mantra.
I truly feel like anyone can do it — even if you “can’t meditate”
- No trying to “empty the mind”
- No mindfulness (monitoring of thoughts)
- No concentrating
- No control of the mind
It’s simple, it works (and they have a children’s program).
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO CHILDREN
Our children are being inundated with more stressors than ever before. School, friends, social media, internet usage, world news all play a role in creating stress, worry and fear. We can’t protect them from everything. Their subconscious is storing data non-stop, and if they don’t process that information, it stays inside and manifests in behavior, lack of sleep, irrational fears and anxiety.
They need the meditation benefits as much, if not more than adults.
Exposing them tools, like mediation, can make a huge difference and teach them to lean into unlocking the WHY behind the stress instead of moving into vices like drugs, alcohol and other substances.
WHERE TO BEGIN PRACTICING MEDITATION
As you can see from my meditation journey, there is no ONE WAY to begin. Here are some of my favorite meditation resources for adults and children.
Side note for my religious friends: Once I had a friend who is very religious say she’d never meditate because it went against her beliefs. But from what I’ve learned, Prayer is when you’re asking. Meditation is when you’re listening.
Gabby Bernstein Meditations: Gabby will lean more woo-woo, spiritual and angel guidance. If you’re open to that, it can be life changing.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein : The book I began with to begin my spiritual rabbit-hole journey. 😉
Transcendental Meditation or TM : Not woo-woo or based in religion, this mediation technique is backed by scientific studies. There are TM centers around the world, and the payment for classes is on a sliding scale of what you can afford.
Cosmic Kids: Cosmic Kids is a perfect entry level yoga and/or mediation app for younger children (I’d say under 10). Sofia listens to Jamie’s meditations through the Cosmic Kids App every night before bed and loves her short stories too!
Headspace for Kids: So many options for wind-down music to guided mediations. Headspace is a great option for adults and kids!
The Power of Your Child’s Imagination by Dr. Charlotte Reznick: Dr. Reznick is an LA based counselor that helps children manage stress and anxiety. Her book details the 9 tools that children can add to their toolbox. We personally hired Dr. Reznick to help Sofia through 2020/21 and our move to Europe. On her website, you can also find meditations for children.
MEDITATION WRAP UP
Like it or not, our kids imprint from us, both the positive and the not so positive. If you find yourself, like I was, overwhelmed, stress and it’s effecting your mood and connections AND you’re open to a solution. Just the meditation benefits alone are a reason to try it, what do you really have to lose? Add meditation to your family’s toolbox. They’re never too young to learn self-care and how to handle the stresses of life. Meditation can be a game changer for you and your family if you let it.