The Wonder of Meditation

"Silience isn't empty, it is fully of answers."

Sudha Shanker

I wonder what meditation is?

Meditation is simply listening to your body. It is very easy and can be done by anyone. Meditation is to be like The Wonder Tree - be still, breathe and reset. It is one of the healthiest activities a parent can do with their child. Most people make time to be physically fit, so why not take a few moments to work on your mental fitness with some meditation? Turn inwards and discover the wonders that lie within. Focus on your thoughts and feelings, your breath or your senses and befriend who you are in the present moment.

Our brains are tired. Meditation is a wonderful way to 'unplug', to relax, focus and just feel.

Why meditate?

Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and increases focus and self awareness. It helps to provide a healthy sense of perspective and grows emotional regulation and resilience. Research shows that meditation can change the brain! It can shrink the 'Alarm Zone' (Amygdala) in our brain and increase the 'Thinking Zone' (Prefrontal Cortex). With practise meditation is an important tool in your self care toolkit, helping to take you from Alarm to Calm.

This YouTube clip explains more:

How do I meditate?

Meditation is like any other skill, repetition is needed to build it. The Wonder Tree's 'Five to Thrive' strategy encourages children and young people to start a healthy habit in a undaunting way. Just 5 minutes a day for 5 days can set you on the right track to start a new habit. Set a reminder on your phone or choose a time when you are less busy, choose somewhere calm and comfortable and give it a go. Be still, go inside and relax. Focus, detect and listen to either your body, brain or breath. And remember it doesn't matter if you lose concentration. One of our mantra's at The Wonder Tree is that we are all 'Perfectly Imperfect'. It doesn't matter if your mind begins to wander and you lose focus, it happens to everyone. Just notice this has happened, accept it and start again.

Mediation at The Wonder Tree

Meditation is one of the 3M's (mindfulness, movement and meditation) that we do regularly to exercise the 3B's (body, brain and breath). Meditation is just one of the tools in our Wonder Toolkit that we use to press the pause button so that we can reset ourselves when we are feeling wild or worried. Meditation develop our Mind Control power, which is one of the special Wonder Powers children develop at The Wonder Tree.

Tips and Techniques:

  • Just be with your breath: Be like a Detective and detect your breath. I wonder where you can feel it in your body? I wonder if it is fast or slow, deep or shallow? Just notice, listening to your friend your breath. Once you have focussed on your natural breath, begin to take control. Start to slow and deepen your breath, breathing in and out of your nose.

  • Counting Meditation: Counting your breathe can help you to maintain your focus. They are many different methods: Say to yourself 1 as you inhale, and 1 as you exhale, then say 2 as you inhale and repeat 2 as you exhale, keep going until you reach 10 or more. Or try counting in your mind to 3 as you inhale, holding your breath for the count of 2 and exhaling for the count of 5. A longer exhale has a calming effect on the body. When you feel more confident you may like to increase the lengths of your breath, try to inhale for 7 seconds, hold for 5 and slowly exhale for 11 seconds (this is for children aged 8 or older).

  • Add deep breathing into your bedtime routine. Use a soft toy to help your child focus on deep belly breathing. See The Wonder Tree video on Breathing Buddies to find out more:

  • Midday Meditation: make time in your day to get together as a family/group/class, sit or lie down for 5 minutes or longer.

  • Picture Power: Visualisations are a popular meditation method for kids as they can use their imaginations by creating an image, video, or cartoon in their mind. A simple one is to lie down and close your eyes. Imagine a warm blue cloudless sky. When thoughts or feelings come up, think of them like clouds passing through your mind, which is like the sky. You can watch the clouds come and go just like you can watch clouds in the sky move and shift in their shapes. You may like to take a deep breath in, and on your exhale, imagine gently blowing your thought cloud out of your mind.

  • Sensational Senses: sit or lye down and focus on one sense. For example sit comfortably and switch off all your senses apart from your sense of hearing. Be still and listen to your outer and inner world. Don't react to anything you hear going on around you, just notice and be still.