Meditation classes offer tranquility for kids

Mon May 18, 2009 3:45am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - The tantrums. The tears. Every parent knows that life can be stressful for toddlers, tweens and teens, so Australian schools are trying to add a little zen to their day through meditation classes.

Children as young as five are being taught to stay still, keep silent and recite an internal mantra through Christian and

non-religious meditation programs throughout the country.

The classes have been dubbed by some practitioners as the cheapest way to combat bullying at school, with teachers reporting meditating students are mostly calmer.

"When children are empowered with the know-how to meditate, they can use their superhero or fairy power to feel safe, focused and happy," Sarah Wood, author of "Sensational Meditation for Children," said on her website.

In 2006, Townsville, in northern Queensland, hosted Australia's first Christian meditation program, which has now spread to schools across the country.

"It teaches the kids to be more attentive and more mindful and certainly more present," Ernie Christie, assistant director of Townsville's Catholic Education Office, told Reuters.

"In fact it's been referred to as the cheapest anti-bullying campaign, as the teachers report that the kids are calmer afterwards and nicer to each other."   Continued...

<p>Kashmiri children meditate under the Art of Living's Youth Leadership Training Programme (YLTP), in the southern Indian city of Bangalore September 22, 2005. REUTERS/Jagadeesh</p>