Despite growing social acceptance and scientific evidence showing the benefits of mindfulness, many are still resistant to the idea meditation, especially when it’s being taught to their children. In order to be successful when integrating a mindfulness program into your classroom, or even if you’re just starting a personal mindfulness practice, it’s important to be aware of these common mindfulness meditation myths.
1) Mindfulness meditation is religious
For better or worse, mindfulness meditation is always associated with Buddhism. This can be problematic in the classroom, especially when parents hear about it. “I don’t want my child to be turned into a Buddhist,” I heard from one parent when one of my students told him we started each class with three minutes of meditation. Ironically, even the first Buddha himself never believed that he was starting a new religion.
Mindfulness meditation is merely a way to cultivate awareness in everyday life. It is completely secular and can be practiced by anyone, regardless of creed.
2) You need to call it meditation
This one is in direct response to the first myth. In order to avoid the religious associations with mindfulness, it can be a good strategy to call it something else.
I’ve heard teachers refer to their classroom’s meditation practice as a breathing exercise, awareness, or even something with a more branded feel like Fresh Start. Regardless of what you call your practice, if you integrate it into your classroom with research-backed techniques, it will work just the same. Contact us to learn more about how we help teachers and administrators integrate mindfulness into schools and classrooms.
3) Meditation makes you lazy
In today’s results-oriented world, the idea of sitting and doing nothing can rub people the wrong way. Why should students in school spend their time doing anything other than studying or learning? Why would we force a classroom to spend a few minutes “off-task?”
Some go so far as to equate meditation with the shirking of responsibility. In reality, by calming the mind and focusing the attention, a few minutes of centered breathing can result in many hours of increased productivity.
4) Children can’t do mindfulness
Many think that because children are too hyperactive or willful, they will be unable to sit still and focus on their breathing. To the contrary, I believe that children are better at being mindful than most adults.
Most children are able to fully immerse themselves in a task without distraction while we will drop anything we’re doing if we get a text message. Help students appreciate mindfulness by encouraging them to channel their childlike wonder of the world, of every breath.