Meditation for Kids

Meditation is many things for many people… but the purpose of meditation is like the purpose of life. What is the purpose of life? Why do we do everything that we do? Why did you all come here today? We want to be happy… that’s why we do everything that we do. If anyone would have told you that by coming here today you will suffer, you wouldn’t have come, right? Every step, every action, every word, every breath is toward happiness. Sometimes we are willing to suffer on the way for some final goal… but that goal will always be something we think will make us happy. Any one here wants to suffer? You can raise your hand and I can help you with that… we all want to be happy. So the purpose of meditation is like the purpose of life… simply to be happy. Here is a story that explains how meditation works: A student approached his teacher and asked: “oh, my teacher, my master, please tell me what is your secret? How is it that you are always so happy, peaceful, relaxed, energetic, healthy… How do you do it?” The teacher answered: “it’s very simple; when I walk I walk, when I eat I eat, when I talk to someone I talk to them, when I work I work, when I do yoga I do yoga… that’s all.” The student said: “but I’m doing the same; when I walk I walk, when I eat I eat…” The teacher replied: “that’s not accurate… when you walk, you think about your work. When you work, you think about your vacation. When you are on your vacation, you think about your home. When you are at home, you think about yoga. When you do yoga, you think of course about… food. Whatever you do you are not really there, your mind is somewhere else and that’s why you are missing out on life, that’s why this happiness slips away from you. Happiness is right here and now inside of you and outside of you and all over… you are just not here to experience it.” Then the student understood the secret of being happy, which is nothing but being here and now. And if we’ll look at our own experiences of happiness we’ll see the same thing… think about the happiest moments of your life, or any happy moment… what was the state of your mind at that time? At that time you were totally there. You didn’t think about other things, you didn’t want other things – you were totally there. You were happy. But at other times, when our mind is all over, this happiness slips away… so the secret of happiness is simple – just be here and now. Meditation is many things, but first and foremost it is to simply being present. Thinking about what happened or what will happen is usually exhausting, but being in the present is not just energizing, it is also the essence of having fun! Real fun can happen in the present only.

a candle flame etc. the room. crackers (they make interesting sounds too) etc.. Feel all the flavors. Sit with your eyes closed and… • • Smell: focus on the smell of a flower. and have fun! Are you ready to meditate? 1. Place a piece of chocolate in your mouth and let it slowly melt and dissolve. scenery. burning incense. let your mind melt into it After a few minutes – you can start to chew and let the flavors and the sensations penetrate even deeper… swirl it around your mouth using your tongue and feel how different or the same it is all over your mouth… Now you can swallow… and stay in silence foe another moment… enjoying the bliss… from within • Is it hard to meditate? Meditation should not be hard… it’s easy if you find YOUR meditation. Meditation with the five senses. Sight: with eyes open. the softness and the hardness… smell it feel it… Don’t chew… breath… let it melt… as it melts. Chocolate meditation: • • • • • • • • Whatever you do in this meditation DON’T SAY CHOCOLATE –then they’ll have expectations . The following are fun ways to quiet the mind and become present. the texture. Feel the warmth and the soft texture of the chocolate. one of the easiest ways to meditate is using your senses: 2. and notice all the little details you never saw before. . This kind of concentration training is not taught in schools. a picture. to train the mind to be onepointed we need to focus it again and again. Close your eyes and don’t open them whatever happens Open your mouth just a bit We are going to put something in your mouth. your friend’s face or eyes. chocolate… Taste: here it’s crucial that you close your eyes. You can also start this meditation with corn flaxes or something else that have a lot of texture and makes a lot of noise. Then you can meditate with honey… and of course chocolate – GOOD chocolate! So. In order to have strong muscles. do your best. focus on a flower. Don’t take any exercise too seriously--take a deep breath. although it is the basis of successful studying and successful living. . You can try the same with honey.Meditation is training the mind to be focused on the here and now. the temperature. we have to use them again and again. Whatever work you do with a focused mind you do twice as fast and ten times better than if you would do it with a distracted mind. • . making sure you are not thinking of anything else now (it’s not that hard). After a minute or two. and in the same way. close your eyes and visualize what you saw as clearly as you can in your mind. don’t chew it… just let it melt Try to experience all the things about it that you might have missed before because your mind was somewhere else Feel the many tastes of it.

move your eyes clockwise around the clock slowly and smoothly until you get back to 12 o’clock. 4. brushing. they should reopen their eyes and do the exercise again. If the group in not homogeneous and you feel that the students are clustered in little groups and do not mix enough with others you can do the following exercise: divide the group in the middle and have half the group hold hands and form an inner circle facing the outside. legs. Rub your hands until some heat is generated. Place a lit candle at the center of the circle and ask everyone to gaze at the brightest part of the flame without blinking. then have both circles rotate very slowly in opposite directions (so either both circles move to their right or both circles move to the left) still looking straight into the eyes of the different people in front of them as they move. then they should close their eyes and keep seeing the flame in their mind. Gradually have the circles turn faster and faster and after a minute or two come to a halt. Since the eyes are connected so directly to the brain. Fun in this game: • • • • Look up (12 o’clock) and down (6 o’clock) a few times Look to the sides (3 o’clock and 6 o’clock) Look diagonally (1:30 and 7:30. You can also chant Om loudly for about a minute and then keep repeating the sound mentally for another minute. • 3. and again starting from 12 o’clock. Ask the participants in each circle to look into the eyes of the people in the circle in front of them. Guide them to keep gazing at the flame until their eyes tear up a bit or until they feel a slight burning sensation. massaging. Candle Gazing (Tratak). it’s great to do this exercise gazing at a flower or a picture 5. When the image fades. your shoulders. Try not to think of other things while doing this practice.• Touch: in pairs. your face. music etc. Starting from 12 o’clock. and the other half of the group hold hands and form an outer circle facing inside. This exercise is best practiced in a dark room. This exercise is also said to help improve the eyesight. Open your eyes again. scratching. Then bring your eyes to center and close them for a breath to rest. You have the group completely rearranged now and ready for new adventures! Fun in this game: • If you can’t make the room dark. and 10:30 and 4:30) Straighten your arm in front of you and look at your thumb and then look at the tip of the nose – alternate looking far and looking close You can also have the kids hold their head still with their hands and use a laser pointer on the wall for them to look at and move their eyes according to its movements. feet… Gently pound now on your . Sound: concentrate your full attention on the ticking of a clock. Eyes Around the Clock. move around the clock counter-clockwise. songs of birds. Imagine that you have a clock right in front of you. You can also massage yourself while sitting with eyes closed as a meditation. 6. change roles and at the end share your experiences. Place your hands on yourself and rub your scalp. Now have the participants in the inner circle come to stand in between the people of the external circle that are in front of them. your arms. Dry Shower. Let yourself become totally absorbed in that sound. Gazing Circle. it also helps to release mental tension. After a couple of minutes. focus on the candle only. exercising them in this way not only strengthens the eye muscles and improves the eyesight. hugging…). flowing water. imagining it to be between their eyebrows. one partner sits with eyes shut while the other touches him in different ways (poking. caressing.

feeling its warmth or coolness. and pass a bell (or a few bells if you have) around the circle. Animal Paradise. Fun in this game: • • If the game becomes too easy. imagining its color or many colors. and once you ring the bell. Sit knee to knee in a circle. Repeat for as many times as you want. eyes closed. tell them to sit up (or come up into Shoulderstand) without dropping the stone – if they were focused. Then reaching a person of his choice. or let the children take turns picking an animal. The game continues in this manner for a few minutes. etc. but you can even use crystals if you want) on the foreheads of the kids when they lie down with their eyes closed. Sit in a circle and close your eyes. quiet time and self control. until you guide everyone to open their eyes and discover that everyone has switched places but the circle remained whole. When all hands are up. Silent Bell. Fun in this game: • You can play the same game with everyone sitting in a circle. Have the kids walk randomly around the room. you can play the bowl again 11. Put a small stone (I use glass pebbles.ribs and then on your chest and even create a tone with your voice and see how the pounding affects it (pounding on the chest really helps improve self confidence). and each kid. They listen very carefully to the sound. It requires enormous concentration to pass the bell without having it make any sound and it works like magic to quiet the kids and prepare them for relaxation. With little kids you will need to repeat the game a few times before all of them understand that they should not ring the bell. You ring the Tibetan bowl. For most young kids. Then show the kids how to pass the bell from one to the other around the circle very gently and slowly without ringing the bell. Choose an animal. After a few minutes. Tell them to focus on it. This game is a good way for children to practice and remember animal poses. You need your Tibetan bowl for this game too. they will think that the stone is still on their forehead and will come up tilting their heads back so that the stone won’t fall. . under the age of 9 or 10. collect the stones – the kids will usually keep feeling that the stone is on their forehead. Stop and Listen. 8. 10. try to pass the bell with your feet! Pass the bell to someone not sitting next to you by standing up and walking toward her – still maintaining complete silence! 9. Give each kid the opportunity to ring the bell and listen to its sound. everyone stands absolutely still and closes their eyes. when she can’t hear the sound anymore. Now close your eyes for a moment and notice the sensations in your body. Have one kid hold a bell and walk around the outside of the circle very slowly and softly without ringing it. and only once the sound has completely disappeared and they cannot hear it at all can they start walking again. and get them to freely move about the classroom moving and making sounds as this animal would. its weight. You will need a Tibetan bowl or a bell that makes a very long sound for this game. raises his hand. Bell Circle. meditation is not very practical or meaningful (meditating on chocolate will just be eating chocolate)… but you can still do a few practices that will help them be present and focused: 7. It encourages stillness. very gently and slowly. 3rd Eye Yoga Diamond. After another minute. he gently rings the bell by that person’s ear and sits in his place as he hands him the bell.

15. Tell the children that you are going to ring the singing bowl and that they’ll need to listen very carefully. The bigger the ball grows. Put on some relaxing music and arm yourself with some fairy dust… Get all the children to rest in child’s pose as a fairy or an elf. Feel the heat or coolness. who can lay still for the longest…. Stay with this feeling for a moment before you gradually make the ball smaller until it fits again between your palms. 14. when you feel some heat generated between your hands. walk around and gently tap their backs with your fingertips covering them in magical fairy dust. eye pillows on or lights off. Every time you pass the ball from hand to hand now. they must freeze in that animal pose and stay there quietly until they hear that the bowl stopped singing. Bring the ball of light now close to your heart and let it come into your body. still with your eyes closed. it is also a wonderful way of quieting things down for relaxation. Now. the energy that was created between your hands. imagine a ball of light between your hands. Sleeping Elves and Faeries. Energy. Move your hands a bit to feel the ball. Take a few deep breaths and slowly stretch your hands and legs and maybe even roll your head a bit before you open your eyes. Writing down your goals and dreams is a great way to start making them come true! It helps you to be mindful with your ideas and intentions and start focusing on them. When everyone has their hands on their bellies. Then ask them to draw or write about the thing that they don’t want in the outer circle. 12. When the children can’t hear the singing anymore get them to gently place their hands by their sides again. close your eyes and rub your hands fast one against the other. just use your imagination. This game can get children to lay still for an extraordinary length of time. After a few moments. make it smaller or stretch it bigger. the greater the pleasant sensation its light gives you. Repeat these steps for an oh so quiet and tranquil classroom. Ask the children to lay down with their hands by their sides. This is very good for developing their listening and concentration skills. it keeps growing. When their circle of dreams is complete they can be put in a special place and taken out later to reflect on and see what has come true. feeling its warmth over your whole body. stop and place them one in front of the other without touching. Pass the ball from one hand to the other. the electric sensation. Oh So Quiet. Allow the children plenty of time for this exercise.When the children hear the bell. Give the children a piece of paper with a large circle in the middle and ask the children to draw or write about things they want to happen in the middle of the circle. When the singing bowl has stopped they’ll need to gently place their hands on their bellies. Dreams do come true. that’s fine. You will need a your singing bowl and eye pillows would be useful too. . or for as long as the children will stay there! 13. it can really ignite their imagination and they’ll need time for thought and time for completion. and the distance between your hands grows accordingly to hold this bigger ball of light. This will give them magical powers to stay as still as possible. ring the bowl again. Sitting in a circle. bounce it between your hands… Is the ball light or is it heavy? If you can’t feel it. Make the ball so big so that your hands really stretch far out.

fun. we’ll look around and really notice all the little details of the beautiful world we live in. we’ll listen to the songs of the birds or to the sound of our breath. but not before the previous creation has evaporated and made space for his. relaxed. lower back. Sit in a circle holding hands and eyes closed. and then puts her hands on her partner’s shoulders. we’ll take deep breaths and smell the nature around us. we’ll pay attention to each and every step. sits behind her. Ask her to use her intuition or gut feeling and guess under whose mat the object is courage…) 20. Silent Walk. Of course switch roles when ready. The water evaporates from the board after about a minute and the picture or words disappear. special…) or things you wish to share with everyone (peace. 19. We won’t let our body be in one place and our mind in another place – we’ll try to connect them and be here and now. we’ll feel the wind caressing our skin. Fun in this game: • The same game can be played in pairs. middle back. The healer now rubs her hands quickly until some heat is generated. he has to step over to the side. even though the hands aren’t there anymore). Have a volunteer leave the room. sitting one in front of the other.buddhaboard. while the other partner starts just above his palms with his hands facing down and slowly moves his hands up as the ball of light grows 16. 21. In pairs. . Everyone lies on the floor completely still. when you guide all the healers to do so. One partner keeps his hands low and facing up. Fun in this game: • Combine positive affirmations with the currents like words that describe how you feel (happy. peaceful. All other thoughts will wait – we’ll be totally present here and now. we’ll feel the connection between our feet and the earth. Call the volunteer back into the room and have her go around to each person in the circle and look in their eyes. It is always with you even if you are distracted by other things. If someone moves. After a few moments. Electric Current. she moves her hands to her partner’s shoulder blades. Start by passing a current in the form of a gentle hand squeeze. Intuition. Gradually you can insert more currents into the circle and in both directions. Each kid can come and draw something on the board. Buddha Board. After a few more moments the healer can remove her hands and rest for a few more breaths before asking her partner if she still feels her hands on her back (which will usually be yes. In this game we invite the action of stillness rather than saying “don’t move” which makes it more fun and more affective. and hide something flat (maybe a yoga card or a coin) under one of the remaining kids mats. one partner sits with her eyes closed while the other partner. and returning to the shoulder blades. This is a special board where you can write or draw using water (you can get it at www. Healing Hands. 17. the healer brings her hands a bit away from her partner and keeps them over the shoulder blades for a few moments before moving again to the lower back etc. adventure. This is walking meditation. joy. 18. In the next step of this game. The Buddha thought about impermanence and the board illustrates this lesson. We’ll put all the thoughts about what happened or what will happen aside and we’ll try to be present. As we start walking around the room (or outside is even better). Still Water. the healer.Remember this light and this pleasant sensation.

but doing it in reverse requires more concentration). gradually make your breath so quiet and unnoticeable so that you won’t hear it any more. Breath Meditation. keep your eyes closed and enjoy the effect of this wonderful exercise for a few more gentle breaths. Start breathing deeply. Sit still with your eyes closed. If you reached 1. as you listen to the sound of the breath or to silence. Closing the Senses (Yoni Mudra). Thought Hunter. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply coordinating the rhythm of your breath. Start breathing deeply. Sit back to back with a friend. Sit as still as you can. Keep your elbows down and shoulders relaxed. immediately go back to 1. 25. to the songs of birds. After about ten deep breaths. Watch even for the smallest thoughts. If any thought comes into your mind. in and out of your body – feel the contact of the air with the inside your nose. just for a few moments. Now gradually make the breath much gentler and let in flow naturally but keep listening to its sound. . One to two minutes of this exercise is more than enough. to music. Try not to listen to your thoughts – listen only to your breath. This exercise helps us be aware of our thoughts. Try not to think about other things and just stay with the numbers. This is a great exercise for developing concentration. Sit up tall and cover your sense organs with your fingers in the following way: place your thumbs in your ears so that you won’t be able to hear anything. deep enough so that you’ll hear your breath very loudly inside your head. Feel how the breath moves your body and start noticing the flow of the breath through your nostrils. 23. Now start listening to sounds by your right ear. Whenever you find yourself thinking of other things. and count slowly from 1 to 10. Feel each other breathing through your backs. Fun in this game: • You can practice the same meditation listening to your heart beat. deep enough so that you’ll be able to hear your breath. start again from 100. to flowing water… 26. Sit or lie on your back and count slowly in your mind from 100 to 1 (it is also possible to count from 1 to a 100. The first step in being able to direct the thoughts is to be aware of them. come back to your breath. 24. the next set of fingers above your lips. Sit up tall and close your eyes. The thoughts we are not aware of are the ones that make us feel what we feel and want what we want and push us into actions we might not have done with more conscious thought. place your index fingers gently on your eyelids. When done. place the middle fingers on your nose.Above the age of 9 kids start to have more awareness of their thoughts and that’s when more serious kinds of meditations can be practiced: 22. and as you listen. stay in silence for a few more moments. backs and heads touching too. Stay here for another minute before releasing your hands. bring your attention to subtler and subtler sounds. Counting Meditation. and your little fingers under your lips. Sitting Still Together. If you lost your count. to the ticking of a clock.

and emotions come and go.” Let your heart open and reach out to them – include them within yourself. In this clear blue sky. clouds of thoughts pass through the sky of our mind. forward and back. Every time that you find yourself following the thoughts again. a parent. but something always stays. and after they disappear. Now close your eyes and try to feel this center running all the way from the bottom to the top of your head. Sit comfortably or lie on your back with eyes closed. When you listen within for the next moment or two. We constantly breathe each other’s air and we nourish each other in this way. to this inner silence. See yourself happy. Clouds come and clouds go. when they are there. Something exists inside us that is there before the thoughts come. turn your attention within and dive deeper into silence. Now inside your heart see an image of yourself. . Compassion Meditation. worries. Close your eyes and visualize the inner silence. There is nothing stronger then love. look much deeper – look at the clear blue sky. Whether there are thoughts or not. directing your breath there. listen much more deeply – listen beyond the thoughts. grass and trees breathe in carbon dioxide and in return exhale more oxygen. don’t listen to the passing thoughts. this inner peace and joy is always here. You can also use visualization to meditate… here is my very favorite to do with the kids: 28. Repeat the same process with someone you love the most.Fun in this game: • You can also feel how with your breath you connect to your friend and to the whole universe. Breathe into this center and see how it feels. lean a bit to the right. sometimes clouds of thoughts pass by. Meditation on the Sky. but the clear blue sky remains unchanged. the sky is always there. rich… see yourself realizing all your dreams and having everything you ever wanted for yourself. Start repeating the mantra “May I enjoy happiness and the source of happiness” – keep repeating it in your mind for a one minute.the flowers. Breathe deeply and bring your attention to your heart. as the clear blue sky. healthy. We inhale oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide . So when you look within now. In the same way. We all support each other and we are all interconnected 27. 29. But whether there are clouds or not. all beings… and keep repeating this mantra ”May my beloved/friend/parent/stranger/annoying person/all beings… [use their names] enjoy happiness and the source of happiness. until you find your center – the point where you feel most balanced. Sitting or standing. an annoying person. Finding Our Center. Thoughts. don’t look at the clouds. a stranger. a good friend. to the left. inner joy and peace. All fears and worries disappear in the presence of love.

This article was written by Amir Gopala Yaffa. .Meditation is not good for everyone… nothing is good for everyone… kids who have been through severe traumas or have deep psychological issues should not close their eyes and go within… within might not be a nice place for them.rainbowkidsyoga.