For those of you who haven’t yet embraced the wonderful practice of meditation as a regular habit, there probably remains a few questions or uncertainties that might be holding you back.
“What do I do?”
“How long does it take?”
“I can’t sit still and simply do nothing, I’d go mad!”
“I just don’t have the time”
And it’s easy to have these reservations. When we think of meditation, it's easy to conjure up an image of a monk sitting cross legged in a monastery, chanting for hours on end. Which is something that people quite rightly assume that they can’t bring into their own lives too easily.
But the great news is that meditation takes countless forms. And many types of meditation simply involve adapting the way we go about our everyday lives. For example, we can make our commute to work every morning a meditation, or we can meditate while we shower. So we don’t even need to set time aside from our busy schedules to enjoy the amazing benefits of this practice.
Here’s a coupe of great techniques that you can start today;
Mindfulness is the act of truly experiencing the present moment, focusing your thoughts and senses on the task in-hand and nothing else. Try making your shower in the morning a mindful shower. Focus on the feeling of the warm water on your body, the smell of the shampoo, listen to the sound the water makes as it drops to the ground. Be totally present and experience everything that’s happening
Or try mindful driving. On the way to work, keep your thoughts focused the road ahead of you and everything on it. Tune into the changes in your environment as you progress through your journey. Be aware of the physical feeling of your hands on the wheel, and the sounds and smells that greet you as you drive.
If you commute to work on public transport, this is the practice for you. Try sitting still and listening to all the sounds you can hear. Focus first on the sounds closest to you, like people talking. Then bring your awareness to sounds further away, like noises outside. See how far you can expand your awareness past the bus or train. Try to listen for brief pauses between whichever noise you are focusing on. Try not to name the sounds or attach any associations to them, simply tune into them and allow them to come and go.
First thing in the morning or last thing at night, why not try a body check? Lying in bed, start from your toes and work your way up the entirety of your body, focusing your attention on each area and relaxing each muscle as you go. Pay particular attention to areas that you usually hold a lot of tension in, like the shoulders and the face.
There are many yogic breathing practices called pranayama. A very simple one is to guide your breath into your belly and start to slow it down. Focus on the outward movement of your belly when you inhale and then focus on the inward movement when you exhale, elongating the inhale and the exhale. This can be practised absolutely anywhere at any time.
So don’t be afraid to give these a try. Not only are they super easy, but you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll begin to enjoy them, and how quickly you’ll begin to realise the benefits.