I learned how to meditate when I was nine years old, and it was the most transformative and precious gift that my parents gave to me. The meditation, mindfulness and motivational techniques that I learned as a child gave me insight, power, knowingness and confidence to feel in control, manage anxiety, be healthier, and find joy and gratitude every day.
Mainstream media and research now validate the many physical and emotional benefits of meditation, and more schools and libraries are introducing breathing, movement, and awareness techniques into their programs for children. Meditation helps kids focus, sleep, do better in school, build empathy and manage stress and anxiety. Now more than ever, children are bombarded by messages and constantly living vicariously on social media, I believe that meditation and awareness techniques are some the most important tools we can teach our children.
Silence is powerful, especially in a world full of noise. Silence is that place where we connect to our trues selves, where creativity blossoms, where we heal, and where we experience an expansiveness that connects us to something larger. Teaching kids to meditate, to be aware of their thoughts and bodies, to set intents, and to pursue life with optimism gives them resilience, perspective and true inner power.
I wrote “Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More” to empower kids directly with the tools to transform their lives. I ask you, the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, mentors and caretakers, who will buy this book for the children in your lives to trust them to explore and discover these techniques. Please don’t force them to do anything in the book, but rather test some of the techniques on your own, and perhaps gently incorporate some of the activities in your family life – a gratitude practice at dinner, mindful listening at the end of the school day, or a quiet evening stroll together. I know from personal experience that meditation transformed my family’s life. My parents had their meditation practice, and they never forced me or my brother to meditate. Rather they led by example, not words – and because they were happier, my brother and I explored the techniques ourselves. I promise that you and your kids will find these practices impactful – and just because they are simple doesn’t mean they aren’t transformative.
My intent for this book is to share these transformative tools to help children and their families find more peace, healing and joy. In meditation, as a child, I found silence. Still, in that silence, I also found my voice, my creativity and my passions. It is my hope that you and your family will, too.