Cultivating Stillness in Kids

Stillness #7 by Jacqueline Roberts

Their down dogs are barking and jumping, their cats are meowing and their trees are bending and swaying. I am always struck by how difficult it is for some kids to simply be still. In deep relaxation pose, it is not unusual to see eye lids fluttering, legs rocking or fingers tapping. They appear fidgety and ready to spring up at a moment’s notice. Yet, despite this, I am frequently told that deep relaxation is their favorite pose. Is the desire to be still present, but not the ability? Is stillness something that needs to be taught?

So, what of kids and stillness? Kids are by nature energy and movement. And even if the body is still, the mind is often not. With myriads of things to occupy young minds such as play stations, Wii, Facebook, and television, young minds are often engaged and disengagement becomes an unfamiliar idea.  How often do today’s kids disconnect and just….be?

Who hasn’t seen a child completely absorbed in cars, the sandbox, puzzles or dolls?  In that moment, engrossed in the world of make-believe and pretend….are they practicing stillness? Perhaps. Perhaps in the same way that one finds peace in gardening, knitting or cooking. But from what I see of children in my daily experiences, it may be useful to first teach the art of being still. Just being.  Letting the body settle….allowing roots to form and extend, providing stability. Thus creating a safe space in which to let the mind and spirit bask in the here and now. Freeing the body and mind from having to do anything. Just being. And in this way, we can help children to cultivate the awareness of what it is like to be in the present moment. Because before you know it, life creeps in.  In the midst of a busy school day or the stress of an exam or chores that must be done, being able to return to the present moment, to find  as Erich Schiffman describes, “life in harmony with itself”, becomes a wondrous gift that will serve them throughout life.

 “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~~Deepak Chopra

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