MEDITATION — There are a thousand and one ways to meditate. Here are eight for those who don’t always have time but would like to enjoy the benefits of this ancient practice and even teach it to children.
N°1: DREAM MEDITATION
Set out in search of your dreams as soon as you get up, before even looking at your cellphone. They are an excellent source of information. Gently assume a comfortable seated position and take several deep breaths by exhaling through the mouth. Let your mind guide you and write down the key moments of the dream, the emotions you felt, and what you learned. Then, set an intention for your day and repeat it out loud three times. If you have insomnia, practise the meditation from No. 8 instead.
A dream journal can become a valuable and sacred tool, as well as a great way to put their emotions on paper.
N°2: GROUNDING MEDITATION
American author Gary Sukav puts it very well in his books: your intentions define your reality. During the day, ask yourself what you’re doing and why. It’s easy to fall into lists of rational goals instead, take a deep breath and think about the real reason. Then, contract every part of your body for 10 seconds and relax completely by exhaling through the mouth. Return to normal breathing and allow your body to realign itself with your deep intentions.
At a young age, they can be introduced to this meditation with a little help. Identify their intentions when they take action. If they feel anxious, this practice may be a good way to bring them back to their bodies.
N°3: GRATITUDE MEDITATION
3 to 10 minutes
It may seem counter-intuitive, but occupying your mind while your body is doing other things, such as taking care of household chores, is very ingenious and allows you to focus on the concept of gratitude. Developing gratitude on a daily basis is recognized as an excellent remedy for anxiety and depression, for parents and children alike. Affirm 10 things for which you are grateful and exhale.
They can also practise this exercise by meditating on what they liked most about their day.
N°4: MEDITATION IN MOTION
When returning to school or daycare, take the time to do a meditation in motion. Bring your attention back to your body as it moves, your feet as they fall. Wiggle your arms and focus on the sensations. Try to walk more slowly and exhale with each step.
It’s easy to train them in the game by paying attention to the different elements along your path (the moon, a big tree, etc.) and by naming the things that they can feel (the sun on their skin, the rain on their face, the wind in their hair, etc.).
N°5: COFFEE, TEA, OR HERBAL TEA RITUAL
As long as desired
It’s possible to meditate while sipping on your favourite beverage. Among other things, this lets you integrate the practice with your daily routine by combining it with one of your existing habits. Where are you? What do you hear? What is the energy of the place? Unfold your legs and anchor your feet on the ground. Bring your awareness to your posture and your breath, pick up your cup, and observe: is it heavy or light, hot or cold? As you drink, learn about the origin of the ingredients that make up your beverage. Where do the leaves and the fruit come from? Where does the water come from? Dive into the magic of life that is too often forgotten.
Offer them a homemade smoothie or fruit juice so that they can accompany you, and don’t forget that the simple act of seeing you appreciate the present moment can inspire them to follow your example.
N°6: VIBRATORY MEDITATION
1 to 10 minutes
The negative energy accumulated in the body can be liberated by sounds. We just have to notice the sustained natural exhalation released by the body after a long task: “ahhh” or “oof.” Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your lower stomach. Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, make the sound “vam,” sustaining the “a.” Continue for 1 to 10 minutes.
They like this very simple practice. If they start laughing, this is a way to relax all the tensions that have accumulated in their little bodies and the latent negative energies more quickly.
N°7: OBSERVATION MEDITATION
Take 5 minutes each day for 5 days to listen to the noises in your environment, without judgment. Then, answer the following question: “Are these sounds pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral to me?” What labels have you given to certain tonalities, vibrations, tones, and words? This Buddhist practice suggests hearing instead of reacting to stimuli, which allows us to gain perspective.
Starting from age 3, they are able to do this exercise, and it’s interesting to listen to their responses without judging them. This allows us to learn more about ourselves: the apple never falls far from the tree.
N°8: YOGA NIDRA
This state of being between wakefulness and sleep helps you release the tensions of your body, reduce anxiety, and sleep better. To do this, lie down in a quiet location. Place your hands on your lower stomach, palms face down, making sure that your exhalations are longer than your
inhalations. When inhaling, think: “I am aware of my whole body.” When exhaling: “I feel calm and relaxation in a part of my body.” Move from your feet to the top of your head. Linger over the parts that need more softness. Once this is done, count from 21 down to 0, maintaining slow breathing.
You can invite them to place their hands on their stomach to inflate it “as big as a balloon.” With a little practice, you can guide them yourself in a complete relaxation of the body. Meditating doesn’t need to be seen as a task or an activity that requires you to keep your eyes closed. Rather, it is a moment of grounding that you give yourself to be well and to give our children the tools to be just as well, because the most beautiful thing that we can offer them is a present and conscious parent.