Here are 5 ways to meditate everyday off the cushion— while you live your life!
#1 Try Mindfulness at your desk
Do a quick body scan to return to the present moment (and build body awareness)
Close your eyes and turn computers and mobile devices to Do Not Disturb. Set an alarm for 10 minutes if you like.
Put headphones on if there are other people around and you don’t want to be interrupted. You could play relaxing music or nature sounds, or just leave them off to block noise.
Close your eyes and feel the seat your body is resting in. Uncross your legs and let you feet ground into the floor (remove shoes if you like).
Lift your spine up straight and soften your belly.
Take a couple of deep breaths and then allow the breath to move in and out naturally.
Imagine your attention is like a flashlight and that you can notice any sensations in the physical body just by directing it to a certain area. Notice sensations like pressure, heat, cold, fatigue, pain, energy, stagnancy, or whatever else comes up for you, but try to just observe them without having much of a reaction or harshly judging yourself- just notice them, let them be there, and then move to the next body area. Start down at the feet and then move upwards (ankles, lower legs, knees, etc.) all the way to the top of the head. When you finish, rest your attention on your breath again and take one deep inhale and exhale before you open your eyes.
#2 Try Intention and Compassion on the airplane/ train
Set yourself up for a positive, low-stress experience. Once you’re seated and your things are put away, take a moment to close your eyes and feel your breath rising and falling in your chest. Visualize a smooth flight that is quiet and peaceful. Imagine all the other people traveling with you having a comfortable and peaceful experience as well, getting to their destinations safely. If you like, imagine a golden bubble of protection around your plane as it moves through the air to get your safely and swiftly to your destination. Allow these thoughts to relax you as you feel your energy settle. You may even feel a tiny smile at the corners of your mouth. Then follow your breath again for several cycles of in and out before you open your eyes.
#3 Try Grounding and Patience while waiting in line
If you notice yourself getting anxious or antsy in line, alter your breath. Briefly see if you’re comfortable with the way you’re standing or sitting, and then start to count your breaths. Inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 5.
Try to notice the little spaces of stillness between the in and out cycles- at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale. The breath will slow down a bit, but it should feel comfortable. Keep breathing like this for a minute or two, or until you feel a noticeable calming effect. Then let your breath return to normal and carry on!
#4 Try Mindfulness while washing the dishes or cleaning the house
When doing actions that are repetitive or monotonous, the mind will cycle thoughts on autopilot, because conscious attention isn’t in full demand for the task at hand. These times offer unexpected ways to meditate. Make these activities into a mindfulness practice of watching the thoughts, and allowing them to be as they are. Pretend you are just observing, lightly, what is taking place in the monkey-mind. You are watching and listening to the patterns of thought that cycle on and on, but the goal is to leave them be. Don’t become involved- meaning, see if you can observe the thoughts without reacting. That means not allowing judgment of the thoughts at this point in time. And if you find yourself trying to find an explanation or add to the story that’s playing out in the mind, take a step back as soon as you notice, because you’ve been drawn in. Just become the observer once more and watch. You may notice that the thoughts begin to quiet themselves when you don’t engage with them, and that there may be even more room for creativity and inspiration in the spaces in between.
#5 Try Raising the Vibration of your commute
While walking, driving, or riding to work you can repeat a simple mantra, either to yourself or out loud, or listen to a recording that you like. A simple word or short phrase with a positive connotation to you will do wonders to set the tone for the day, and repeating mantra or short affirmations has a calming and stealing effect on the brain.
Some examples are: Aum (‘Om’), peace, I love you, I am confident, I am centered. You can use any word or short phrase that inspires you or relates to something you are working on improving personally or a vision you may have for the greater good of the world. Just repeat and keep listening until you feel more contentment. Even a positive song that you love can quickly shift your mood and energy.
I hope you try these 5 ways to meditate the next time you're cleaning, traveling, or just working at your desk. Check out my library of guided meditations HERE for more inspiration.
Jessica Crow helps people harness the power of meditation and mindfulness to change their lives and the lives of others for the better through practical courses for the everyday practitioner, teacher trainings, and personalized mentorship.
Check out her book 'The Power of Guided Meditation', published by Fair Winds Press and her New On Demand Course 'The Power of Guided Meditation' or anyone who wants to harness the power of meditation in their own lives.