nother summer hasflown by, daysspent hanging out by thepool or lounging on thecouch are coming to an end. It? stimeto? go back to school. Just hearing thephrase? back to school?can createstressand anxiety for many people: anew semester of exams, homework and alarm clocks. Beyond thetypical expectations of theclassroom - kids, teens and even young adultsarenow dealing with numerous challenges: cyber-bullying, body shaming, community violence, abuse, neglect, unstablehomelives, drug exposure, sexual orientation, even immigration issues, to nameafew! Googlesearch thephrase, ?back to school,?and resultsshow nothing but advertisementsfor gadgets, clothing and trends. Even morepressureto keep up with what everyoneelseis doing! When did heading back to school becomeabout so much morethan actual, well you know school?Education; preparing for your future; learning lessons? With so many distractionsand anxiety producing situations, it? sno wonder focusing on doing your best isn? t always easy. Someyoung peoplemay not havethetoolsthat they need to effectively handleemotions likeanger, fear and sadness, which areoften at theroot of misbehavior. Weall face challengesthroughout our lifetimes, and many difficult lessonsbegin early. Shielding studentsfrom all thestressful or traumatic situationsthey may befacing isn? t possible. Yet, it? snever too early or too lateto manageemotionsand reactionsin waysthat promote resilience. Being equipped with appropriatecoping skillsearly in lifeleadsto better mental and physical health into adulthood. Onebeneficial and easy to use coping tool ismeditation. It doesn? t requirefancy clothesor expensivedevices; just a focused mind - ready to face itself. Meditation helpsto balanceaperson? sinner world with theouter world; sort of likeyou? remeeting yourself in thecenter. Equipping peoplewith lifelong meditational toolsbeginsby introducing aperson to the awarenessof their own breath. ?Paying attention to thebreath insidethebody isof vital importanceto being present,? saysDheeraj Singh, ayogaand meditation instructor in Varanasi, India. ?It will help a person exist in thepresent moment and slow things down.? Back t o School : New Rul es Back t o School : Medit at ion f or Concent r at ion A Written and Photographed by: Sarah ParsonsWest