Many different news sources have reported that one reason the twelve members of the boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand survived was because their coach, a former Buddhist monk, kept them calm by leading them in meditation exercises. Leah Weiss, a Standford expert taught by the Dalai Lama, said meditating played a key role in keeping the group alive. It improved the boy’s focus and compassion for one another. Apparently when the first British divers found the boys they were not screaming or crying but sitting calmly in the dark meditating. The oxygen supply in the cave was very small but meditation will have slowed the boys breathing and respiration and oxygen intake so they could survive despite the low oxygen levels.
I have noticed on my visits to classrooms as a university faculty advisor that lots of teachers are using meditation exercises with their students to bring them back to a calm place, to get them to focus before beginning an assignment and to foster empathy with their classmates. Teachers are using a whole variety of techniques involving music and breathing, assuming various body poses and looking at calming visual images.
Children learning these techniques from caring teachers and mentors are being given a valuable and perhaps even life saving gift.