This age group is used to sitting still at their desks for a determined period of time, which is a head start in teaching sitting meditation. For learning meditation the teacher and students sit in a circle on the carpet facing in, or the students can sit at their desks with their hands clasped in their laps. Encourage students to sit upright rather than slouch to keep their attention on the lesson.
If your students are at least school age explain that even breathing calms them down when they are stressed or angry. And, that it is a good practice to use that no one else will even know they are doing: it is like their own first aid kit for regaining calm and control of themselves.
Demonstrate the meditation practice of evenly spaced regular breathing. Have them first count from one to four. Then demonstrate that on count 1 they breathe in, and on count 2 they release the breath; then breathe in on count 3, and breathe out on count 4. And, that this even pattern at their own regular breathing rate continues through the meditation. Imagery and quiet time.
Now, moving on to the sitting still portion of the meditation practice, ask the kids to close their eyes, and sitting very still imagine the sun rising in the sky. It is brightening all the world so plants and trees can grow, and people can see where to go.
By now, the children are probably quiet and relaxed. When the group begins to stir, (no time limit), ask everyone to follow you by taking a deep breath in, letting it out, standing up and stretching. Remind the kids they can do this meditation anytime they need to calm down, or need some quiet time to work out problems they may be having at home, school or with others.
In this meditation I have not mentioned any particular religious imagery, which you can add in if you are teaching from a particular religious perspective. Rather, this meditation can be called quiet time and used in the schools for stress reduction or to recover order in the classroom.
Quiet time with even breathing
Helps to banish stress from living.
By Susan (Shuchi) Helene Kramer
Susan Helene Kramer (Shuchi) has been a devotee of Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda and a Yoga practitioner since 1976. She is the mother of 5 and writes on practical spirituality, dance, family and social issues. Her books are listed at her web site: SusanKramer.com