Developmental psychologist Amanda Moreno, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Chicago’s Erikson Institute, never really did yoga or meditated. But at a conference a few years ago, she had what she calls an epiphany.
One presenter talked about how existing programs to improve kids’ planning, organization, and self-control—a set of skills experts call executive function—weren’t working as well as expected. (For example, when teachers explain logically why it’s better not to bully, the lessons don’t always sink in.) Another discussed the way mindfulness training was helping kids with ADHD focus.
Moreno began to wonder. What if mindfulness—the same focus on the present moment that grown-ups seek in the yoga studio and on apps like Headspace—could also help kids buffer the stress of sometimes-chaotic city life and do better in school and in life?