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Introducing children to yoga, meditation, and spirituality is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. When we teach meditation to children, we need to choose age-appropriate techniques that foster their total growth and development.
Meditation techniques for children can help them relax and focus better during school, so that they can concentrate and memorize more effectively. There are three broad age groups that we need to consider when teaching yoga to children: those below the age of eight years, children between the age of eight and puberty, and post-pubertal teens. From the point of view of yogic physiology, children below age eight do not need much formal meditation training. Parents need to practice meditation techniques that increase their own capacity for awareness in the midst of their busy lives, so that they can be more present and available to their children. Once children have developed a little body awareness, we can teach them to listen to and follow outside sounds, or to visualize imaginary realms, or we can read stories that stimulate their imaginations. By the age of eight, a child’s fundamental personality has formed and his or her body begins a process of preparing for puberty. Eight-year-olds in India learn three practices to foster total physical, mental, and spiritual development. The practice of Sun Salutation balances the life force, prana, preventing it from becoming jammed up in the sexual centers (swadhisthana chakra). Alternate nostril breathing is a pre-meditative practice that balances the flow of energy in both ida and pingala. Mantras are the main meditative practices taught to this age group, as they powerfully affect the brain and its development. All of the practices listed above, including yoga nidra as detailed for younger children, will support a child’s ability to learn, to take in and digest information at school, and to develop individual interests.
Our students in the post-pubertal stage of adolescence can engage in more classical forms of meditation. Visualization techniques are wonderful for this age group, and techniques that develop memory and mental power are particularly useful. Teachers, explore the newly improved TeachersPlus to protect yourself with liability insurance, build your business with a dozen valuable benefits including a free teacher profile on our national directory, plus find answers to all your questions about teaching. Find peace and empowerment in this guided meditation from Sonima and Elena Brower using mantra and affirmation to expand consciousness and increase joy. In honor of National Yoga Month, expand your repertoire with these four types of yoga that can complement your regular practice. Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects. The most rewarding things in life seem to get kick started by an unfortunate event of some sort, it seems. I have heard many yoga students struggle more with meditation than with some of the hardest poses. Ancient history tells us yoga was born for the sole purpose of opening the body to prepare it for meditation. Now my conviction is simple – first, I believe there is a reason I am turning to meditation at this point in my life.
In delaying the practice in the months and years past, I am tinged with some sorrow for not knowing what I see as obvious now. In building this daily practice, go into it with an open mind, and an unwavering determination and anticipation of good omens to come. Farnoosh only started pursuing her myriad of passions in recent years where workaholism was finally forced to take a backseat, and balance became a matter of intellectual and emotional survival. The first limb, yama, deals with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Generally translated as breath control, this fourth stage consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. These first four stages of Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga concentrate on refining our personalities, gaining mastery over the body, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepares us for the second half of this journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness. As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or concentration.
Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Patanjali describes this eighth and final stage of ashtanga, samadhi, as a state of ecstasy. From instant calming to greater self-awareness, Erica Rodefer Winters has found pranayama to be an incredibly important part of her regular yoga practice. During this busy time of year, it's important to remember what the holidays are supposed to be all about: happiness, or santosha.
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Healing attention opens a conduit through which loving awareness can flow, touch and infuse the thoughts and emotions that create suffering. This current carries you deeply into the pattern of suffering and then beyond—into Life itself.
We’d like the process to be all lovey­?dovey, with an ambient music soundtrack and soft lighting.
Eric Klein is one of the few people on the planet who is both a lineage holder in a 5,000-year-old yoga lineage and a best-selling business book author.

I am more mindful of meditating with animals, of meditation around them, and meditation in which they are participating, aware of it, playing a role. Numerous studies have proven that meditation does more than improve the lives of individuals who practice it. When significant numbers of a population meditate, it can positively impact the collective consciousness of the overall population to such an extent that crime rates drop.
And people around the world are being invited to meditate with them—to offer the power of collective consciousness to help bring about a shift in this crisis. The exact village and time is not yet known to the general public (for security reasons), but anyone who wishes to join in can register to be notified by email on Sunday, January 31st. From the spiritual perspective, good meditation techniques teach children self-awareness, encourage them to be themselves, and help them face life with greater belief in their potential. It is more important for these children that their parents learn yoga and meditation and carry yogic principles into their homes. The child needs to know that a parent is really interested in them, is really listening to and attending to them.
A modified practice of yoga nidra is a deep relaxation practice in the Corpse Pose (Savasana).
Changes begin to occur in children’s brains around the age of eight, and these changes reach a peak during puberty. These are Sun Salutation for the body, alternate nostril breathing for the brain and mind, and mantras for the deeper mind and spirit.
A child’s physical changes during puberty are under the control of pingala nadi, the spinal channel that carries prana, the life force.
One note of caution is to teach children only asanas that are playful and that do not put too much pressure on the endocrine system. This pranayama directly affects the physical and mental systems by balancing both sides of the brain.
We can teach them techniques that further support their mental development, for example, so that they can stay relaxed and able to concentrate during these most important learning years. This time we can use the adult form, rotating the awareness through the body parts and then taking awareness deeper into the breath and mind. For example, we can ask a child to visualize an imaginary blackboard and ask them to see themselves writing the letters of the alphabet on this board in colored chalk. It is important for students to remain relaxed and receptive, and to take regular productive and relaxing breaks from study. I would love to twist and bend and open into that impossible pose, but please do not ask me to sit still and do nothing! There is an inexplicable notion that I can heal myself from this pain, and meditation is at the center of this force. Mantras are short phrases and simple thoughts that we can latch onto and repeat quietly to ourselves during meditation or moments of quietude when we want to go inwards. You need to become religious or spiritual or something that you are not, in order not to meditate –No! To the best of your abilities, cultivate the habits that will ease the path, and prepare you for a journey of self-discovery.
She created her own blog, Prolific Living, with a vision of embodying the essence of vitality by living a prolific life by conscious eating, voracious reading, diligent yoga, constant traveling, insatiable appreciation of the arts and by imparting that experience to its beloved readers, you! She has a relentless love for living life to the fullest via reading, traveling, yoga and eating well, all of which and more she explores on Prolific Living. These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying grace before meals, developing your own personal meditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice. In the yogic view, the body is a temple of spirit, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth.
It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli.
Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. The most dramatic feature is the extended wave about to crash and strike the boats, with the distinct Mount Fuji in the background.
The carp, or koi, has a powerful and energetic life force and is often known as a€?warrior fisha€? and celebrated for its strength and courage.
If you’re caught up in a volatile, emotional, overwhelming situation, relief can be the best first step.
They show up to be healed, blessed, transformed by being infused with compassionate, non­?attached, loving awareness. It is this unique quality of being fully present and at the same time non­?identified that dissolves patterns of suffering into clarity, energy and wholeness. These words about going beyond suffering, about energy and clarity, like much of spiritual teachings can be enlisted in the service of relief.
But you can release the patterns of conditioning and discover how to be moved by the deep currents. As teachers, we need to know how to present this knowledge so that children of different ages will receive the most benefit from it. Meditations for children cannot be the same as those taught to middle-aged business people or spiritual aspirants seeking higher knowledge.
At the same time, parents need to learn how to allow children to be themselves and to foster each child’s own unique being and abilities. In this practice we cannot ask the children to feel individual parts of the body, but rather we work with awareness of larger parts. When we teach meditation to this age group, our main aim is to support balanced physical and mental development.
These practices can slow the onset of puberty and balance its effects by acting on the subtle channels that flow in the spine. Mental development occurs under the control of ida nadi, the spinal channel that carries psychological force. Never hold the major poses for extended periods, as they will overstimulate the physical systems and can cause imbalanced development.
Or in this day and age, to visualize a computer screen and see themselves creating their own computer game, following their hero through any story they want to create.
Tell me please I am not the only one suffering from eternal lack of focus and yet hopelessly in love with yoga both in theory and in practice!
You can certainly learn and benefit from a class-room guided meditation but it is not a necessity.

While she is still trying to figure out what she wants to do for the rest of her life, she is excited and thrilled about contributing to Elephant Journal. Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation. Keenly aware of, yet cultivating a detachment from, our senses, we direct our attention internally. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things.
The chrysanthemum flower is a symbol of rejuvenation and eventually became the Imperial Family emblem. And temporary relief comes when your attention is distracted from the source of your pain and focused on something else.
The resurfacing of the suffering thoughts and emotions can trigger an ever more intense form of relief?seeking—which in time dissipates into the familiar pattern of thoughts and emotions. Eric has worked with over 35,000 people to infuse greater meaning, awareness, and purpose into their work and lives. She is passionate about bringing the benefits of the practice to everyone, especially those who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves to be “on a spiritual path”. Rather, in this context, meditation is a process that supports the growth of the body-mind of the child, fosters the development of each child’s own unique personality, and supports creativity and expression.
If their parents practice some form of self-development, their children will grow up in a healthier, more relaxed and aware environment. For example, we may playfully instruct the child in body awareness by saying, “Feel that you are a statute until I count to 10.
This helps the child be better mentally prepared for the onslaught of feelings, desires, and urges that arise during puberty. Excessive stimulation of the physical channel alone, as tends to occur in the normal social environment, causes imbalanced development and can make puberty a rough process. Simply get them to observe the flow of the breath in on one side and out on the other, alternating sides. I would get inspired after a yoga workshop or retreat or from a book or my yogadownload podcasts and promptly put it on the schedule: Daily Meditation, 5 minutes, increase duration weekly.
And find your reason to meditate, and when and only when you have that conviction at the pit of your belly, recognize it and allow it to happen. I have learned these to be 3 excuses you should positively ignore when doubt sets in on your intention to meditate.
You can meditate as a complete beginner, or an advanced student, and all shades in between. The resources available on the web and in books are tremendous, and you can find hundreds of podcasts and videos on self-guided meditation, and eventually, you establish the basic fundamentals and do it on your own. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energetic center in the body, an image of a deity, or the silent repetition of a sound. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all.
His book "You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For" won a 2008 Nautilus Book Award for being “a world-changing book promoting positive social change and responsible leadership.” With his wife and partner Devi, Eric is also the creator of the Healing Family Karma programs and The Meditation Habit. Fifteen minutes later, when the third bell went off, he was in the same position, watching me. Join her 28 day ecourse for busy people, find her at her website where you can sign up for her Thought for the Week to receive curated inspirational quotes every Monday. It also supports the child’s ability to take in knowledge at school, and to develop a relaxed focus and good memory.
The yogic practices taught children at this time stimulate both channels equally, to stimulate physical and mental growth at the same time.
And chronic pain from nerves, joints and muscles in my arms has now brought me to meditation. In fact, I think that beginners may be far more open to receiving the benefits and establishing a good habit early on. Strongly spiritual or religious people may very well meditate, but not all who do need to be so.
This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth. We, of course, have already begun to develop our powers of concentration in the previous three stages of posture, breath control, and withdrawal of the senses.
Meditation resembles praying, and the simple act of stillness can be discomforting on many levels but it is a sweet challenge to face, unbounded to any denomination, sect or cult. However, if we pause to examine what we really want to get out of life, would not joy, fulfillment, and freedom somehow find their way onto our list of hopes, wishes, and desires? I imagine he heard my breathing, I sensed a connection being made, it was from him, but I felt it, it entered the quiet, was a part of it, was healing. It’s when everything you have tried seems ineffective after a while, and the body chooses to fight you instead of respond by healing. I wanted to be a steady rock on a mountain top and yet I wavered like a leaf in the wind, at the beck and call of whatever sought my attention that week, that month, that year. What should be the reasons that draw us to something that requires so much commitment and so little tangible return on investment?
Our focus constantly shifts as we fine-tune the many nuances of any particular posture or breathing technique. What Patanjali has described as the completion of the yogic path is what, deep down, all human beings aspire to: peace. It’s when there is no medically obvious reason for your pain and the medical experts enter a guessing game with a sophisticated strategy also known as trial-and-error. In pratyahara we become self-observant; now, in dharana, we focus our attention on a single point. We also might give some thought to the fact that this ultimate stage of yoga—enlightenment—can neither be bought nor possessed.
It’s when you feel like you have neither patience nor faith left to believe that your pain will subside and your body will fully heal itself. Yes, it is that bittersweet spot of helplessness whence these words and promises flow today.

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