Mallika Chopra has long known the benefits of meditation. The author, entrepreneur, and mother began her own practice at age nine, taught to her by her parents. Now she delivers that to children everywhere in her new book, My Body Is A Rainbow.
“I felt I had been given this gift, so that really has been the inspiration behind all of the books is how can we share these tools with kids?” she tells Parentology. She’s done just that with her series of Just Be books geared toward kids ages 8-12. Now, Chopra’s beautiful new book helps even younger children discover the gift of meditation.
My Body Is A Rainbow is designed as an interactive tool that helps parents, caregivers and teachers offer meditation techniques to preschool children. Chopra’s words help them slow down, breathe and think about their feelings with a subtly guided meditation. The rainbow is woven throughout the book, with beautiful illustrations by Izzy Burton. Chopra utilizes colors to help children visualize and name what they’re feeling.
“Kids are open and joyful, and they love moving around, they love breathing, they love demonstrating. So, this book is really an attempt to make it fun,” she explains.
Meditation to Fight Anxiety & Depression
Unfortunately, there has been a significant rise in stress, anxiety, and depression in children at younger ages. Chopra feels that parents are looking for ways to help their kids. “The most common question I get from parents is ‘How can I teach my kids how to meditate?’ Parents are looking for tools. The goal of this book is a how-to book for little kids, which, as you’re reading it with them, you go through the exercise together.”
Research has shown that consistent meditation can help relieve subjective anxiety and depression. Chopra believes that introducing these techniques to children at a younger age will benefit them for years to come.
“If we can start younger, we give kids different ways to connect, to breathe, to slow down, to have positive affirmations,” she explains.
The book also takes children through a range of feelings and emotions. Chopra wanted to make sure young children know that different feelings and emotions are completely normal. She wanted her young readers to have the tools to understand their feelings and move through them in a healthy way — to give them tools so they can process those emotions, release them, and not build up chronic anxiety.
Advice for Parents
For parents hoping to help their kids, Chopra’s advice is simple.
“My first advice to parents is always [this]: Don’t even worry first about your kids, find your own practice,” she says. “Look at your own practice, look at how you react to things, how you follow self-care, how you connect with your body—first think of your own habits.” She also encourages parents to talk to their kids about how they themselves use these same tools as adults.
Her next piece of advice is to keep it simple and have fun.
“With kids, it truly does begin with simple breathing—teaching kids how to take a deep breath in and out.” She warns parents against taking the practice of meditation or themselves too seriously, that’s why the book is designed to be an enjoyable, shared experience. “Make it fun, make it easy, make it flexible. The goal is to breathe, to have fun, to connect with your body.”
Though she’s written about the subject before, Chopra is excited that My Body Is A Rainbow will now reach another group of children and their parents. “I feel very grateful for the opportunity that I’m able to share this content more and more. It’s a wonderful thing to experience with your children going through these exercises.”