Why should we teach our kids to develop a meditation or mindfulness practice?
Establishing a meditation or mindfulness practice in our children is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them. It teaches them that they have the tools within themselves to get rid of negative thoughts and behaviors, build self-confidence, focus, and treat others with respect.
These practices have been found to improve attentiveness, respect for fellow classmates, improve grades, self control, and empathy. It has also been shown to reduce stress, hyperactive behavior, ADHD symptoms, and depression.
The Skills for Life program in Ohio schools which teach deep breathing and meditation to elementary aged children found that when using these practices, kids were better able to balance their emotions and increase awareness. The amount of bullying also went down in these schools.
A study done in the San Francisco Unified School Distric found improvement in overall academic performance, including math test scores. Gunfire, fighting and suspension rates also dropped by 45%, attendance rose, and grades improved dramatically.
At the Robert W. Coleman school in Baltimore, they replaced detention with meditation and yoga. Since starting the program 2 years ago, not a single suspension issued, and counselors feel that meditation has given the children tools to deal with anger when it arises.
So now that we know why we should meditate, why should we use malas (or mores specifically Animalas)?
Malas are made up of 108 beads and an additional “seed” or “guru” bead. These beads are used to keep count during mantra meditations. There are many theories behind the significance of number 108. Here is one theory that we like, from Logan Miliken of Silver & Sage jewelry:
1 = God / the Universe / your own highest truth
0 = emptiness and humility in spiritual practice
8 = infinity and timelessness