I was teaching our course last weekend in London and I was asked by one of the students if the course would suit him as he works with 16 to 18 year olds. His school had looked at our website and thought it was only for younger children.
It made me aware of 2 things. First that I had to redress this with this post – what we teach can definitely be adapted to suit teens. Secondly, sometimes us adults tend to focus on meditation for younger children rather than recognising the teens in our lives.
Maybe we feel we can’t communicate with them in the same way or that they’ll mock us for trying to teach this. I recall my own mum teaching me meditation at the age of 18 and I did resist it at first. But she gently persevered and planted the seed that later brought me to a much more peaceful place in times of great stress. However the way my mum taught me didn’t really address my needs as a teenager and had it been presented in a cooler way then maybe I would have been warmer to the idea.
So here are some tips.
My first tip is don’t play any meditation music. You might find the teens in your life scoff at your music taste. Silence is really golden when you are teaching teens. Or if you really want to bring in sound, then try some singing bowl sounds (real or recorded) such as Nada Himalaya . These have a fantastic effect on our energy and can be calming without us having to do too much and is much less intrusive.
” I did my first 10 minute meditation session with my son, aged 15, last night and it was really good. I set the scene in my bedroom, he sat on the chair, I had candles lit. He is getting a little stressed with his GCSE mocks coming up etc. So we are going to do that every night, or every other night, as he relaxed quite quickly and enjoyed the feeling” MS, England.
In our course we teach students who to use their imagination when teaching children meditation so that they can be more playful and creative. I find that with teens we want it to be simple and mindful. Just focussing on the breath, the body and simple phrases like ‘I accept me as I am’ or ‘I feel peaceful’.
Here are some nice phrases we can introduce them to…
‘my body is like a mountain’
‘my breath is like the wind’
‘my mind is like the sky’.
(Just combine one of those phrases with an in and out breath).
Listening and talking
It is important to listen and I mean truly listen when teaching teens. Don’t rush to fill silence with your chatter. If no-one is sharing after the meditation just bring your awareness to your breath and practise mindfulness. Try not to ask closed questions that just require a yes or no answer. Ask open ended questions that might help teens to respond.
Settling their energy
Even though we may have these ‘difficult’ teens to deal with (I remember being one – were you?) it is important to keep your energy centered and grounded… that way you can help them. Although I usually avoid any guided imagery with teens, the colour meditation is a really easy way to do this. If you have my ‘Calm Kids‘ book you’ll find it in there but mainly it involves asking them to think of a colour, surround themselves in it and breath it in. It works every time.
Celebs who Meditate
Even though we find teens hooked on the antics of celebs, it is good to know
that some are active in meditation and this may give an air of ‘cool’ to trying to meditate. Here are the ones I managed to find…
Angelina Jolie, Demi moore, Arnold schwazenegger, Katy Perry, Kourtney Kardashian, Hugh Jackman (wolverine), Sir Paul McCartney, Evan Mendes, Moby, Martin Scorsese, Naomi Watts, Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Kristen Bell, Ellen DeGeneres, Santigold.