Tried & tested meditation classes for adults and MBSR and mindfulness camps for kids to help families become more positive and mindful
Paying attention is a skill. Pay attention to your breath and you’ll start to really pay attention to all experiences in the present moment. That’s the premise of meditation and mindfulness, where you are encouraged to recognise your thoughts and feelings without immediately reacting or judging. It seems everyone from parents to stressed out execs are waxing lyrical about the benefits of meditation and even schools are taking it up to calm students and promote learning. Kids can learn simple mindfulness techniques and start reaping the rewards of better attention skills, positivity and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Raring to get started? Here are some tried and tested meditation classes in Singapore, from kid-friendly online mindfulness videos and mindfulness camps, to Mindful-Based Stress Reducing workshops for grownups, all to help your whole family find their inner zen!
Click through our gallery for all our suggestions of where to meditate in Singapore…
Lead image sourced via Getty
Aimed at: Kids, Teens and Adults
Sessions: 1 hour sessions (or longer camps for kids)
Cost: $25 (or Monthly unlimited for Adults $179)
Canvass offers art, yoga and meditation classes for kids, teens and adults. Deep Calm is a 60 minute class taken by founder Jolie Michelle Ow in her brand new studios in the neighbourhood of Binjai Park. Jolie has experience in Psychology, Art therapy, Sand Therapy, and Holistic Education and she often does coaching at schools. She usually starts the lesson off with gentle stretches to relax the body and then a series of breathing exercises are done to encouraging mindfulness and conscious meditation. Sometimes crystals are used to encourage relaxation and peace which adds a fun element to the class. The class ends with laying on the mats in repose (some of the students had nodded off, they were so relaxed by this state!). There is also a class which uses musical instruments like Tibetan crystal singing bowls and tingsha bells to promotes a sense of centering, and balance, which sounds interesting.
Verdict: Jolie is a really personable meditation teacher; we have seen her in action with the kids in the Movement Art Mindfulness camp and she is excellent with little ones who have so much fun mixing up physical expression with creativity and mindfulness. Her Deep Calm was an enjoyable evening class that set a really peaceful tone for a good night’s rest.
Canvass, 5A Binjai Park, Singapore 589820, Tel: +65 8522294, www.canvass.com.sg/yoga-class
Aimed at: Adults
Sessions: 60 minute class
Dawn Sim teaches the meditation classes at the peaceful studios of COMO Shambhala Urban Escape on Orchard. Dawn is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist and is well trained in mindfulness and resilience workshops for kids and adults (she owns The Open Centre, also listed in this article). The class starts with some stretching and then there is a guided tai chi-style movement which was repeated a few times until we got into a good flow. This was a highlight for some of us being the first time we had tried this ancient practice, and I personally was glad to do some physical activity (albeit light) before sitting down and concentrating on the second part of the session for the sitting meditation. Sitting on bolster cushions we were calmly guided through breathing practices to concentrate the mind on the breath and any breathing anchor points. 20 minutes went by very quickly – always a great sign of a competent teacher and we felt extremely peaceful and relaxed by the end of the session.
Verdict: Dawn is a very intuitive guide and we appreciated the extra ‘teachings’ she brought to the lesson, asking us to reflect on certain qualities like patience, which was a welcome addition to the physical and mental aspect of the meditation practice. Highly recommended.
— Team SMSG
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, 402 Orchard Road, #06-01/02 Delfi Orchard
Singapore 238876, Tel: +65 6304 3552, www.comoshambhala.com/singapore/classes/mindful-meditation-practice
Image by COMO Shambhala Urban Escape
Aimed at: Kids (6-12 years) and Adults
Sessions: 5 day camp, 9am-4:30pm; Sleepover camp option
Cost: $680 – $730
The Open Centre offers adult meditation classes (including the 8-week MBSR course) as well as kids’ mindfulness camps. My 6-year-old recently attended ‘The Mindful Camp’ – a weeklong camp which focuses on social-emotional skills and secular mindfulness practices. He had a really great time on the program, which includes arts and crafts, a nature walk, therapy cats, horse grooming and rides. I liked the varied activities and the deliberate move away from academic enrichment. The cats turned out to be the major highlight for him, as well as the walk through Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with a retired National Parks ranger.
Verdict: I noticed a pleasant change in his behaviour after attending the camp. Like many parents, my questions about school are usually met with ‘Good’ and ‘Fine’ and ‘I don’t remember’. Amazingly, each day when I collected him from camp he couldn’t stop talking about it. He was animated, energised and chatty and it was a really lovely outcome! I thought this was a great alternative to a lot of other holiday camps, it’s more about enrichment of your inner self than your sporting or academic abilities. Each day at collection time they’d be sitting in a circle having a singalong with Bruno Mars, Cyndi Lauper or The Beatles — it’s changed our Spotify playlist for the better (bye bye, Baby Shark!). We’d definitely do it again, and recommend it to friends!
Aimed at: Adults
Session: 2 hour workshop
The Breath and Sound Workshop with Rie Komiya & Elaine Yang comprises of a 45 minute meditation plus one hour of crystal singing bowls and vocal toning. The theme for my workshop was self-compassion and self-love and we got into the pranayama (essentially breath control) portion of the workshop to begin. It all sounded easy enough, but it wasn’t (for me anyway). I lost count on my exhale, I forgot to hold my breath, I had a lot of trouble focusing on the tip of my nose, and my arms kept dropping out of prayer position. After a while I settled into it and started to feel quite relaxed, but still had trouble managing to breathe and count to 5 at the same time! It was a long meditation (45 mins!) and I confess I was relieved when it was over and we got to lie down on the mats, cover ourselves with blankets and listen to the singing bowls. We were instructed that whatever we felt during the singing bowls – sleepy, emotional, alert – just to go with it and accept it; the key is to feel the bowls rather than listen to them. After a bad night’s sleep I wondered whether I would just drift off during this portion, but the sound of the bowls was louder than I expected. To my surprise, I immediately felt as though I could see the sound – like sand ripples under the waves. This didn’t last long though, and although my mind wandered and I was aware of the occasional snore from other participants, I spent most of the hour in a relaxed, sleepy state, albeit a bit cold.
Verdict: I wanted to learn how to breathe more effectively but I was no clearer so I had a quick chat with Rie and she confirmed that unfortunately there is no quick fix and that I must practice stomach breathing every day. Overall it was a very relaxing experience, although the meditation was more physically challenging than I expected. This workshop is totally appropriate for beginners, but especially relevant to anyone with an interest in crystal singing bowls.
The Yoga School, 65 Chulia Street, #39-01 , www.yogaschool.asia
Aimed at: Adults and kids
Cost: from $40
Brahm Centre is a charity that promotes healthier and happier living through adult and child-focused, science-based mindfulness classes. Check their website regularly as classes range from kid-friendly ones like the Mindfulness Camp for Calming on Demand (11-15 years old), to Intermediate courses in Mindfulness as well as Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) classes for adults. As it’s a charity the prices are really affordable, with their 4-session Mindfulness foundation course priced at $160 in total.
Image by Brahm Centre
Aimed at: Adults
Sessions: 3 days of 2 hours
The Art of Living is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization founded in 1981 by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. They offer educational, spiritual and self-development programmes, including a four-day Happiness Program that teaches breathing techniques and ‘wisdom that can change your life’, and Sahaj Samadhi Meditation that includes group sessions, online refresher sessions and lifetime support.
Art of Living Foundation Limited, 433 Race Course Road, Singapore 218679, Tel: (+65) 6299 5775, www.artofliving.org/sg-en/program
Image by Art of Living
Aimed at: Adults, teens and kids
Cost: From $8 for kids/$10 adults
Kadampa Meditation Centre Singapore offers a range of meditation classes and spiritual teachings from the Buddha for different levels, from kids as young as 5 years old (accompanied by an adult), to lunchtime drop-in sessions for adults. Special teen sessions focus on guided meditations and lessons to calm one’s mind and deal with negative feelings plus there’s always a short discussion about everyday teen experiences to help foster patience and empathy. The meditation room (enter via World Peace Cafe entrance) is open for anyone to drop in and use.
Kadampa Meditation Centre Singapore, 134 Neil Road. S(088863), (+65) 6438 1127, www.nkt-kmc-singapore.org/singapore-centre
Image by Kadampa Meditation Centre Singapore
Aimed at: Adults, teens
Sessions: monthly, 2 hours
Mindfulness by the Bay is a monthly meditation event created by a group of mindfulness practitioners to encourage people to meet in the stunning setting of Gardens by the Bay. Here, practitioners take it in turns to guide the group through a meditation practice to help people reduce stress. The 2-hour early morning session (yes you read that correctly – 2 hours!) includes Light Exercise, Mindful Stretching and Sitting and a Sharing Session. Children are welcome if they can follow the session in silence (so best suited for older kids and teens). Check their Facebook page for the monthly event dates. Bring your own mat, water, (long pants not shorts), mossie repellent and sun hat and prepare to find some tropical zen!
Gardens by the Bay (SuperTree Grove), 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953, www.facebook.com/mindfulnessbythebay
Aimed at: Adults
Cost: Donation sustained/on request for private
Tan Cheen Chong is a Singapore-based mindfulness teacher who started Now Your Mind to promote mindfulness, in schools as well as in corporate settings. He often does one hour experiential sessions and mindful workshops at Lululemon Duxton (check his Facebook page for deets). These workshops are donation-sustained or you can contact him for private or school group sessions.
Now Your Mind, www.nowyourmind.com/contact
Image by Now Your Mind
Aimed at: Adults and kids
Sessions: Kids class at Macpherson, Sundays 11am-12pm
Sahaja Yoga Meditation is a non-profit society in Singapore, offering free meditation programs for adults and kids alike. For kids there are regular weekly meditation classes every Sunday where parents are welcome to join in, too. Classes for adults are conducted in both English and Mandarin and cater to different levels from first-timers, beginners to regular practitioners. Look out for the 6-week Beginner’s Program for first timers to Sahaja Yoga Meditation.
Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Various locations, Tel: (+65) 9237 4027 / 9182 6131, www.singaporemeditation.org/index.php/meditation-classes
Image by Singapore Meditation
Calm App – Tried & Tested
Aimed at: Adults and kids
Cost: FREE trial, then $64.98 for the year
Calm has a great interface with meditations divided into easy categories such as sleep, anxiety, self-care, focus, relationships and even a whole section dedicated to kids (helpfully put into age groups too). There is a lovely section called Sleep Stories – soothing bedtime stories to help you fall into a natural deep sleep read by the likes of Stephen Fry, Leona Lewis and Mathew McConaughey. If you buy the annual subscription, the whole family can use the Calm App on other devices. My son loves the kid’s bedtimes stories and my daughter uses the sleep music on nights she finds hard to nod off.
Cosmic Kids Zen Den –Tried & Tested
Aimed at: Kids 5yrs old +
Sessions: 4 – 8 minutes long episodes
Jaimie the presenter usually teaches kids yoga through story telling with her hugely successful Cosmic Yoga online videos. There’s a separate channel for mindfulness videos with Cosmic Kids Zen Den where Jamie does a great job of making big topics easy for kids to understand – she compares feeling stressed to watching a snow storm and teaches kids how to breathe to calm the snow down. There are tips to help concentration and visualization as well. Some schools actually use these videos as a brain break and to calm kids down and teach them mindfulness practises.
Verdict: My 4-year-old loves watching Jaimie’s Cosmic Kids yoga videos and will happily follow the instructions of these calming Zen Den episodes. I am not sure if she understands yet how to apply these teachings to everyday life yet, but my eldest who is 7, has already started applying breathing techniques to calm himself down when he is angry or frustrated so it seems to be working!
Headspace (For adults)
Bite-sized guided meditations for busy schedules.
Image by Cosmic Kids