by Kari Pike
Learn about Kari's upcoming Creative Spirit class, Learning to Breathe, HERE! This is a meaningful and transformational class for youth in grades 5-8. Also, please join us for our Learning to Breathe family Open House on Sunday, February 3rd. Learn more and RSVP HERE! At this event, families can meet Kari, ask questions about the class, and participate in a mindfulness exercise!
When your child was a tiny infant, did you ever just watch them sleep? Looking to make sure everything was okay, seeing the rise and fall of their torso, reassured by the movements of their breathing? Babies breathe. We don’t have to teach them. (There is fascinating research about how babies who sleep near their mothers are prompted after apneas to breathe by the cue of their mother’s breathing nearby, but that is a topic for another day.)
"As a society, we train our children to be future-oriented."
Children are naturally present: observant and in the moment. As a society, we train our children to be future-oriented. Do this assignment to prepare for the test, to receive a grade, to get into college, to prepare for “real life.” Over time, our children absorb the message that their current existence isn’t real. We lose the habit of being present in the moment. The new habit of discounting our present experiences stays with us long beyond the time we enter “real life.” We become very, very skilled at training our minds to focus on the future: to plan, schedule, prepare, and worry.
"Like a teeter totter, we swing between storytelling about what has already happened and anticipating what has not yet happened, missing the thing that it all hinges on: the present. "
While these skills have a function, we can end up out of balance. Like a teeter totter, we swing between storytelling about what has already happened and anticipating what has not yet happened, missing the thing that it all hinges on: the present.
Mindfulness training for young people is less about teaching a new concept than showing ways to practice what they already know (or once knew) and encouraging that function as brain changes in adolescence occur. Proficiency at any skill requires deliberate practice, and mindfulness, like sports or music, requires practice, too.
"If you practice regularly, you may find yourself returning to the present, suspended in the moment of possibility that is now."
To practice mindfulness is to allow the teeter totter to rest in horizontal, neither in the future nor in the past. At first, this delicate balance may only last moments. Like any skill, it becomes easier with practice. If you practice regularly, you may find yourself returning to the present, suspended in the moment of possibility that is now.
Kari Pike graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Economics. After working internationally in management consulting, she changed careers in search of a happier, more sustainable lifestyle. She taught Bikram yoga in Cambridge and Allston before moving to the North Shore. She is a parent of two and teaches enrichment classes at Marblehead Community Charter Public School. She has trained in both the Learning to BREATHE and Mindful Schools curricula. Understanding the stressors of being a student, working in demanding environments, and parenting, Kari helps children and adults learn strategies to thrive as human beings while accomplishing their goals.