If the mere mention of the word meditation makes you squirm, take a breath and read on… these mini meditations so seamlessly fit into your daily routine that you barely will realize you are meditating, but you will definitely feel the benefits!
If you have not come across the mindfulness teachings of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh before, do yourself a favor and look him up. His wise and simple teachings will inspire you to live a more conscious life. In his teaches, he stresses that meditation need not be just sitting in Lotus Position for hours a day. It can simply begin with mindful exercises that reconnect you with you!
1. Conscious Breathing
This exercise is very simple and can be done anywhere… try it in the cue at the market! As you breath in, say to yourself, “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.” As you breath out, say, “Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.” That’s it! You can even shorten it to, “In” … “Out”. And after several repetitions, notice how your breath becomes more peaceful and gentle. Your mind and body will follow!
2. Cookie of Childhood
When Thich Nhat Hanh was young, his mother used to bring him a cookie each time she returned from the market. He would take it into the garden and eat it very slowly, while he enjoyed the garden. He was totally in the present moment with his cookie because he was a young boy with very few worries! This exercise puts you in touch with the cookie of your childhood. It just requires that you choose a mealtime and consciously sit down to eat without the TV on, your phone in one hand or even the radio playing. You become present. You take a few deep breaths before you start. You smile at the person you are with if you are not alone. And then, you start eating, enjoying and appreciating each bite.
3. Walking Meditation
A walking meditation is done to enjoy the walking, not really to arrive anywhere, but you can certainly try it when you are on your way somewhere as long as you can take your time. The purpose is just to be in the present moment, are of your breath and of each step you take. Each time a worry or a thought pulls you out of the present, you must bring yourself back to your breath and your step. You can coordinate your breathing with your steps; for example, if you take 3 steps with an inhale, take 3 steps with your exhale. You can even repeat to yourself, “In, in, in. Out, out, out.” And with each step, imagine you are bringing peace and calm to the surface of the Earth.
4. Measuring your Breath
This exercise asks you to follow the length of your breath. So take a seat or lie down on your mat and follow the length of your breath. As you inhale, count slowly, 1,2,3… and do the same as you exhale. On the next breath, try to extend your exhale by one or two, so you completely empty your lungs. Pause for a moment before taking in a new breath. Continue to breath like this, noticing the lengths of your breaths for at least a minute. Each time you inhale, fully inhale. Each time you exhale, fully exhale.
5. Count your breath
This is a simple meditation that really makes you conscious of your breath. As you breathe in, count ! in your mind and as you breathe out, count 1. Breathe in, count 2. Breathe out, count 2. Continue through 10 and then return to 1 again. This is a great meditation for when you are feeling stressed or frazzled and need to return to yourself.
This fantastic article was written for us by the awesome Alicia Anka, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Writer
Check out this week's FREE Yoga class...