-Nikolas Mussmann, age 9


This article by Neena  Samuel illustrates the benefits of meditation for children.  The meditative breathing technique that she describes is the same as the breathing training in the Tai Chi for Kids classes.  Some of the breathing in Tai Chi is taught sitting down, and some of it is incorporated in the movement.

A Good Reason for Kids to Meditate: by Neena Samuel

Most kids have proved they can zone out---in front of the TV, anyway.  But it turns out they can also meditate, and the practice can boost their health.

In a Medical College of Georgia study, 34 middle-schoolers who meditated for 20 minutes a day for three months significantly lowered their blood pressure.  If the reduction is maintained over time, it would lower the risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease as an adult by 13%, says study co-author Vernon Barnes.  That’s important, since factors such as obesity, unhealthy diets and stress have contributed to a rise in childhood hypertension.   Starting young will lead to a lifelong healthy habit.

Sitting still for 20 minutes is hard for children.  The kids in the study did two 10-minute meditation sessions---in the morning and after school.  Here’s how:   They were taught to sit up straight and focus on breathing, feeling the abdomen rise as they inhaled and fall when they exhaled.  They were told to accept the thoughts that arose, then redirect their attention to breathing.

-Ava Newhouse, age 7