I’ve dreamt of being a children’s yoga teacher for a long time now. I’ve gravitated towards children for as long as I can remember. Since I accomplished my initial dream of becoming a general and special education teacher, I needed a new goal. So last December, I took a twenty-hour course to do just that. It was even more beneficial and fulfilling than I ever imagined.
My biggest takeaway (and frankly something I never knew) was how meditation is also a close yoga counterpart. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, or if you’re like me and have allergies, SunButter and jelly. Funny enough, I would never have guessed that combo is equally as satisfying as a good old fashioned PB&J, just like I didn’t realize before how important meditation is to yoga and vice-versa.
Meditation has been proven to enhance your cognitive abilities. When people meditate for a minimum of twenty minutes a day, thinking becomes clearer, choices are easier, and life is much more manageable. Once I started meditating, I recognized these benefits very early on.
So why isn’t it taught in schools? Why isn’t it part of our daily self-care ritual? We’re taught from a young age to brush our teeth twice a day. Brushing our teeth enhances the cleanliness of our teeth and mouth. If meditation is good for our brains and improves the function, then why aren’t we taught to meditate daily as young children?
I am teaching my kids to use meditation as a tool to combat anxiety. They’ve also become aware that meditations can be used for different reasons, and that there are different kinds. Once my kids asked me why I liked to “sit in the car.” They were referring to the fact that I like to pause, with them, as a model. I like to use teachable moments as much as I can with them to show them things as they naturally come up in our daily activities.
I like to sit and just breathe by taking in the world around me. Only by focusing on something else, we can enhance our breath, our heart rate, our health, and our minds. Who wouldn’t want that for their children?
My instructor recently said to me, “Please don’t sign up for any programs online. Every good yoga program is built on the foundation of community and shouldn’t be virtual.” She told me to “study myself” and to study the curriculum that we all received during class last December. She continued, “Anyone can stand on their head and call themself a yogi. Truly study yourself and all that I taught you.” I laughed and couldn’t believe how right she was.
But it wasn’t all easy wins. One of the big problems that I faced with meditation, in the beginning, was how does someone know if they are doing it “right,” and where does it fit into my busy schedule? But then, in case you missed it, COVID shut down the world, and suddenly I had more time on my hands. I started meditating right where I was. “Stop, drop, and meditate.” It quickly became my second workout of the day and was so helpful to me in so many ways.
But guess what? It doesn’t matter: JUST BREATHE! However you like to do it, just do it!
I started getting up early to breathe. Now I meditate when I feel overwhelmed by life. I’m a big multi-tasker, but that can often lead to being inundated with stuff to do and not enough time to do it. I learned that I needed just to stop, drop, and meditate.
Now I invite my kids to do it with me, no matter what is going on around us. I’ve found it’s easier to listen to meditation than to come up with my own. It’s easier for the kids to listen too if it’s connected to their body in some way. We use a body scan meditation because they can relate to it while following along using their bodies and enhancing our brain functions.