By Lara Evans Bracciante
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, October/November 2003.
Kids who meditate are happier, have higher self-esteem, get along better with other students and cope with stress more effectively than students who don’t meditate, suggests Rita Benn, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Michigan. Aged 10 to 14, the Detroit students of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse practice non-religious transcendental meditation (TM) for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon to reduce stress — a growing concern for parents and child psychologists who note that kids are dealing with more pressure than ever. The school has been utilizing the TM practice for six years. While Nataki students were compared with kids from a nearby charter school who didn’t meditate, Benn is now conducting additional research to specifically study the before and after effects of meditation on 22 fifth-graders.
Students aren’t the only ones who are required to sit still. Nataki teachers also practice TM twice a day, but for 20 minutes rather than 10.