Meditation can conjure up visions of yogis peacefully residing on a mountaintop, one with the earth and sky. That may seem to be a very unobtainable state, however, meditation is something that everyone can do (mountaintop optional).
As a yoga instructor and a mom of three, I welcome families to come together to take my classes, in fact I encourage it. New moms with their babies, moms and dads with toddlers in tow, everyone can benefit from the practice. Parents are often surprised at how their kids are natural-born yogis! I often use the babies to show the proper way to breath, deep from your belly. The babies are my best assistant instructors in long deep breathing. After class, no matter the group I am teaching, is always meditation time and there are some wonderful meditations that families can participate in!
Meditation is simply mindfulness, presence in your state of being. Mindfulness practice is becoming popular with children who are facing difficulties such as ADHD, anxiety, and behavioral issues. Too often we have what the Buddhists refer to as “Monkey mind” – the chatter that fills our heads. Grocery lists, business meetings, the guy that cut you off on the road – random thoughts that fill our heads and keep us from really enjoying the moment at hand. Concentrating on your breathing for a few moments is meditation, stopping before you yell and taking one deep breath is meditation. When my kids are spiraling I ask them to sit, close their eyes and take a few breaths. It works every time!
Here are 2 meditations that you can do with your family. They are simple, yet effective. I hope you can start your meditation journey here.
Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and mouth. Gently place the tip of your tongue on the roof or your mouth and relax your jaw (didn’t realize you were clenching it huh!) Breathing only through your nose, notice the air entering cool, and exiting warm. Send the breath to areas of tension in your body. If you are doing this with your kids sit close and hold hands. (5-20 minutes)
Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and mouth. Breath through your nose only. Now, concentrate on one particular sound you hear. Try to tune out all other noises. Continue to follow this sound for as long as you can and then pick up on a new one (if necessary). A great way to include children is to do a Listening Walk. Take the kids out and ask them to stay quiet and tune in to the sounds around them. This is a wonderful way to communicate silently. (5-20 minutes)
Namaste and happy meditating!
Written by Alicia Perez
I have been in the fitness industry over 20 years in both physical exercise and bodywork. After receiving my Personal Training Certification through NESTA , I began teaching classes at Brooklyn College, in addition to training one-on-one. As the industry shifted from high impact aerobics to a lower impact regime, I became interested in yoga and received my certification in Sports Yoga through NESTA. I soon realized I have a true passion for yoga and mediation and continued my studies in Kundalini yoga, mediation, and Vinyasa flow. I am also trained in shiatsu massage through the Ohashi Institute of N.Y., and have certifications in Myoskeletal Alignment and Seated Chair Massage through NESTA. Currently, I am teaching Family Yoga classes including; Mommy and Me, Toddler, and Family Yoga/Meditation classes. I also continue to do personal training and massage.
I can be contacted at [email protected]