I'm committed to sitting in daily meditation for January 2021 and beyond. I know it won't be easy to meditate everyday. In an ideal world I would meditate each morning before my family wakes, have a slow breakfast, sip tea and read a book. But that's not my current reality, so I have to adjust to each day as it is.
I've been practicing meditation for about 10 years. There have been many periods (long & short) where I don't meditate at all because life can very easily get in the way. When I was in school full-time in Mississauga I was overwhelmed with my schedule and meditation was the first thing I let go of.
When I became a mother, there was little to no time for myself. So my meditation and yoga practices paused.
When my business became busier I was over working and my meditation practice took a back seat.
When Covid hit and our family was together at home all the time it was difficult to find quiet time for myself. I often neglected to sit.
But I always come back to my meditation practice because every time I do, I'm reminded of why it's so important to connect with myself, with my body and my breath. I'm reminded of how good it feels to disconnect from media, my family, the past, the future and the stories my mind makes up. I'm reminded that I can be in better in control of my feelings and my reactions to them.
We're all human beings doing our best.
The lesson here? It's okay to falter. It's okay to pause. It's okay if you don't sit everyday. You're human. Give yourself permission to do what you can when you can. But be honest with yourself. Can you find even 1 minute to close your eyes and feel your breath? Can you be okay with that?
With this in mind, I've created a list of way to practice meditation and mindfulness if you're on the go, have a crowded house or feeling overwhelmed with your ever-growing to-do list.
Easy Mindfulness Exercises
DANCE BREAK - Put on your favourite song and dance like nobody is watching. Shift your energy with movement and a song that ignites your inner fire.
4 x 4 x 4 x 4 BREATH - Wherever you are, close your eyes and take 4 cycles of breath. Inhale for four. Hold for four. Exhale for Four. Hold for four. This quick practice takes less than 2 minutes and will help invoke a feeling of peacefulness.
SALUTE THE SUN - Practice 3 - 5 sun salutations. Moving your spine and whole body will give you a little rush of endorphins and lubricants to keep your body moving easily and feeling good.
DRIVE IN - If you're running errands or returning home from work, before you get out of your car take 2 minutes to centre yourself. Sit tall. Place your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes. Be present for 8 - 12 breaths or until you feel a shift in your energy.
GREAT EIGHT - Wherever you are, close your eyes and take 8 slow, deep breaths. Focus your attention on lengthening your exhales. When you extend your exhales you activate the parasympathetic nervous system which brings you out of fight or flight mode and into rest mode.
WALK ABOUT - Go for a walk around the block. This should only take 5 - 10 minutes. The fresh air, movement & change of scenery will shift your perspective and maybe inspire you to see things a different way.
SQUEEZE & RELEASE - Give yourself some hugs. Squeeze your body tightly then release. You can squeeze your arms, your legs, your hands and feet. Make fists, then release as you exhale. Tense up your whole body, then release as you exhale. This practice will help relieve stress & tension in your body.
MINDFUL MAKING - While you're prepping or cooking food, be present with your body & breath. How do your hands feel? How are your feet planted into the ground? How is your posture? How is your breath? Taking a moment to connect to all the physical sensations will keep you grounded in the present moment.
BALLOON BREATH - Place your hands on your belly and close your eyes. Imagine your abdomen as a balloon so that as you inhale the balloon inflates and as you exhale it deflates. Feel how your belly expands front to back, side to side and top to bottom - like a balloon. This stimulates the diaphragm which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and signals the body to rest.
This is just a small list of ideas for you, but I hope it helps with your own personal wellness journey. There are countless way to add mindfulness or meditation to your daily routine. We have a page of Free Guided Meditations ranging from 5 - 15 minutes you can access at anytime. If you have any more ideas, we'd love to hear them.
Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs.
xo Shelley xo