THE words ‘zen’ and ‘child’ don’t naturally go together.

Youngsters sitting still without their faces glued to a screen seems hard to visualise.

However, children’s meditation is gaining ground in Peeblesshire thanks to a local teacher who is inspiring both young and old to chill out.

Meditation and mindfulness teacher, Suzi Gibson, has been helping the anxious and stressed find peace at her tranquil studio Space 108 based in Peebles.

From stressed out high school students to highly-strung adults, Suzi has run many soothing sessions for the mind.

As part of Peebles High Health Week, she opened up her studio door to groups of pupils and guided them through meditation.

And she also offered a number of Chill Zone classes for students worried about exams.

This month however, Suzi brought the art of mindfulness to youngsters from the Peeblesshire Youth Trust.

Programme Manager Sarah Keen said the children and their mentors benefitted hugely from the session.

“Suzi put everyone at ease despite it being a young experience for the young people,” said Sarah.

“She explained the benefits of mindfulness and meditation whilst showing us how to put it into practice at home."

There is a greater focus on the importance of mental health in children who are struggling to cope with the stresses that come with 21st century life.

Research and studies have been carried out to discover if mindful meditation improves mental well-being for children or, if the hype is outpacing the scientific evidence.

If researchers were looking for answers they would certainly find them in Space 108, where the children from Peeblesshire Youth Trust were in such a relaxed state, some drifted off into the land of nod.

Sarah told us: “We finished our hour long session with a full body scan meditation. We all felt very relaxed and indeed some fell asleep!

“This is the second time that we’ve completed a session with Suzi, and we hope to make it a more regular occurrence as it is a great to help and support to young people who may struggle with anxiety and emotional wellbeing at times.

“We are so grateful to Suzi for hosting us at her lovely studio. We love working with her and we are lucky to have such a great resource in our area.”

With emotional disorders on the rise, the Mental Health Foundation charity wants emotional wellbeing to be at the heart of the school curriculum.

And within the wider community, Suzi is happy to open her door to children and adults in need of some peace.

She told the Peeblesshire News: “I offer these sessions to groups like Peeblesshire Youth Trust because in challenging times we all need support.

"The simple tools and techniques I teach offer support and help to build resilience whilst making them feel calm.

“This is carried out by simple breathing, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. It is easy to learn and no equipment is required. It gives young people the tools to navigate the ups and downs of life.”

Speaking about the session the Peeblesshire Youth Trust, Suzi added: “The children were really attentive and engaged as were the mentors and by the end everyone was very relaxed. The room felt noticeably calmer.”

Perhaps you or someone you know could benefit from this practice.

If so, it’s worth keeping in mind there’s a space at 108, a peaceful haven where you can meditate your way to a calmer, happier life.

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