Share this Post
Table of Contents
What is Meditation?
Meditation is seen as a list of different techniques that can encourage and aid the brain into a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. The aim is to have a clear and emotionally calm stable state as to stop the mind rushing about in an aimless train of thoughts.
How to Meditate Effectively?
Similar to how fitness trains the body meditation is about training the mind. It is extremely difficult to sit for hours thinking of nothing or have an “empty mind” and this is something that we are aware is difficult for many children.
We recommend a great way to start is to get your students concentrating on their breath as it is the easiest way to begin meditating. An example of the most common approaches to meditation is concentration.
- Concentration Meditation
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. Examples of this include following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame or listening to a repetitive gong sound. Since focusing the mind is quite difficult, we recommend a class session only last a couple of minutes at a time.
In this form of meditation, you simply refocus the awareness on the chosen object each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursing random thoughts, you can simply let them go. You will naturally notice with this process your ability to concentrate grow.
- Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention of this is not get involved in the thoughts or to judge them, but to just simply be aware of each mental note as it arises.
When you meditate through mindfulness meditation you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience. With practice inner balance develops.
Points to consider
We have cultivated 4 points in which to consider before you start implementing meditation exercises and activities in to your classroom.
- Include yourself in the practice
Incorporating meditation and mindful proactive in your classroom can be far easier if you’re working on them in your own time/life as well. Beginners to the craft find it useful to allocate meditation to a particular time of day such as a commute to work, washing the dishes or any other mundane tasks you find. For more information check out our other blog for mindfulness for teachers.
- Make it Positive
In class, make an effort to cultivate activities that are special and different from the class’s usual routine. Don’t be afraid of ritual, such as dimming the lights or using a bell to signify the beginning and end of an activity. The idea is to create a positive feeling.
- No failure
This is something for you and your students to remember. Minds will wander but that is okay, the idea is to try again.
- Be clear about emotions
An important part of the meditation process is identifying and naming your emotions. Make conscious effort to try and cultivate vocabulary for different emotions in the classroom.
As mentioned before this activity is great for bringing the mind back to the importance of breath (concentration meditation). As it turns out when we are stressed our breath becomes shorter as we tend to take shallower breaths. This is why in this activity it is important to focus on deeper “belly breaths” to focus our attention and calm us.
Sitting or standing, ask your students to breathe deeply and slowly for around five minutes. Then ask them to count to three on the inhale and three again to exhale and focus on the counting and the feeling of themselves breathing.
BONUS: You may like to suggest for your students to put their hands on their stomachs to feel the air as it moves in and out to really focus on the feeling of breathing.
Your students should be able to think of a relaxing colour and other colours that represent negative emotions such as anger, frustration or sadness. Now have students close their eyes and visualise that they are breathing in the relaxing colour and letting it fill their bodies with positive and energy. On the exhale ask them to also imagine the negative colour leaving their body and dissipating throughout the room.
Take this further with such calming and relaxing methods such as ASMR. This one in particular takes away your negative or toxic energy.
The 5 senses
This activity is all about that moment of stress and ways to reconnect by getting your students to answer the following:
- What are five things I can see?
- Four things I can touch?
- Three things I can hear?
- Two things I can smell?
- One thing I can hear?
For younger students they can answer with one thing for each category.
Ever felt tense in particular areas which are bunged up with loads of tension? Enter the body scan. While sitting or lying down, ask students to stop and check-in with how they are physically feeling, remind them this is down without judging ourselves or asking “why?”
- “How is my breath? Shallow or deep?”
- “Where do I feel sore or tense?”
- “How does my (back/shoulders/face muscles/feet/neck) feel?”
As your class go through these cues, they respond by relaxing that part of their body.
Ring the Breaktime Bell
In this activity you continue your normal day-to-day classes however, explain to your class that when the bell is rung my yourself it means that everyone takes a break from what they are doing and do some meditation or mindfulness practice.
This is only a short activity like breathing, stretching or checking in with their thoughts following this the lesson can then resume.
We as humans are very good at remembering all the negative that goes on. However, we find it difficult when it comes to recalling the positive sometimes. When we are grateful this helps us to keep this balance of focusing on the good and the bad in check.
Keep in mind there is no “right” way to practice gratitude. Although, you may be a good idea to set aside the last five minutes of the lesson or day for students to write down what they are thankful for, briefly share them with a partner or silently them to themselves.