Everyday meditation – you’re probably already doing it
Have you ever all of a sudden noticed how bright and warm the sun is on your skin? Or how perhaps lately you noticed how vibrant the autumn leaves were as you were walking or driving by? When was the last time you realised how tight your muscles feel so you stopped what you were doing to stretch or give your shoulders a massage? I’m sure you would have encountered these experiences at some point recently, if so, you have practiced meditation.
You don’t need to sit on a cushion, cross legged for two hours every day to have a regular meditation practice. So if you have often thought you would like to give it a go but haven’t got around to it because you ‘don’t have time’, think again, because you are probably already doing it, you just need to become more aware.
Meditation versus Mindfulness
Meditation is the formal practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply having the awareness of present moment. We can use techniques such as awareness of breath or tuning into sensation to practice staying present and we can train our minds and attention to get better at coming back to the present moment when our attention drifts or wanders off. Just like the body, the mind becomes stronger with effort and knowing when to rest.
The mind’s job is to think, you’re normal!
A common misconception about meditation is that the aim is to have no thoughts. You are human and your brain is designed to think. Meditation and mindfulness can help us to become more aware of our thoughts and if they are serving us. It’s very easy to get caught up in the narrative of thoughts that may lead to unnecessary worry. Can you let some thoughts just float on by like clouds in the sky? Usually if something is really important it will come back when it’s time to action it.
The breath as an anchor to the present moment
The mind can be hard to control, however we can control the breath. It gives us something to focus on. You can feel the breath as It comes in and out of the nose. You can hear the breath with your sense of sound. With your mind’s eye you can watch the breath, or on a cold day you can literally see the breath. Each time you catch your attention wandering off, try and gently guide your attention back to the breath. When you start out you will find you need to do this many times. Don’t worry, just keep going back to the breath.
To learn more about how you can use the breath to manage stress, have a read of our previous blog post here.
Tune into your senses
Senses can also be a great tool for maintaining presence and awareness. Tune into your sense of sound – how many sounds can you hear? Listen to your breath. Sense of smell, taste and touch. Tune into the sensation of movement.
All you need is a couple of minutes, even just 1 minute! Can you try a mini meditation now? Feel the breath move in and out of the nose of 2 minutes. Each time the mind wanders, bring it back to the sensation of the breath.
Love to hear how you go.
Reach out to us for some more tips on meditation or come and try a Studio Torus yoga or yin yoga based class to familiarise yourself with meditation and mindful movement.