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How Can Guided Imagery Be Used in Schools?

23 Apr


Put a headset that’s playing some guided imagery on the super-receptive little ears of a first grader, and you’re giving that kid the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of his or her days.

And what a gift is is! We’re talking self-soothing at will; mood regulation as needed; de-stressing at the flip of a switch. These are invaluable skills and habits. And when they’re learned in childhood - the most absorptive, receptive time of life possible- they become embedded on the inside, a building block of strength and resourcefulness that is forever available going forward. A gift just doesn’t get better than that.

Luckily, schools, pre-schools, sports programs, and many other after school activities have figured this out, and are offering guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, yoga, simple breath work, and qi-gong – to students.

There’s a meditation room at Baltimore’s Robert Coleman Elementary School that upset, angry, troubled kids get sent to instead of a date with the detention room. (great video here:

High school students at East Baltimore’s Patterson High School practice yoga in their meditation room. (It may not look it, but adolescence is another super-receptive time to initiate learning a meditative practice.)

The School Yoga Project in Westchester County, NY teaches students from pre-K to 12th grade the practice of both yoga and mindfulness, at their desks and on mats. The staff puts it really well: We help students build strong inner resources so they can thrive in a challenging world.

There are free guided meditation lesson plans all over the internet; live streaming yoga classes from several organizations designed specifically to teach yoga in schools; and mindfulness coaching for teachers all over the place.

The reason for the sudden uptick in popularity is simple and clear: the research shows that regular practice improves social behavior, concentration, academic success, performance under pressured conditions (exams, recitals, high profile sports, etc), augments creativity and feeds a sense of balance, strength, mastery and – well, happiness.

We can all do our part to keep this happy trend climbing – introduce a kid you love to some simple but potent mind-body techniques, and watch them thrive. As luck would have it, we’ve already curated for you a wonderful collection of imagery, meditation and yoga materials for kids. Have a look and listen (

All best,


Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award