The first time I learned to “meditate” I didn’t even know the word meditation. I was nine years old bouncing around, refusing to sit in my chair and do my homework. My father set a timer for 10 minutes and told me to take a brain break. I was to do anything but homework for the next ten minutes, but when the timer went off I had to sit and get back to my homework for another 20 minutes. This for me meant jumping, dancing, singing, climbing on furniture. My little brain breaks of body movement allowed me to release tension resulting in more focused productivity.
Meditation (or brain breaks as I like to say) is a way to quiet all the programs running in our minds, and allow ourselves to be fully aware in the present moment without worrying about the past or future. Creativity, stress relief and productivity are all benefits of taking the time to meditate.
You don’t have to commit yourself to an hour of yoga a day to reap the benefits of meditation. Even starting with 2 minute breaks a couple of times a day can be beneficial.
Check in with yourself through out the day and notice if you are holding your breath or clenching your jaw. Set a timer for 2 minutes and listen to the natural flow of your breath without forcing it. Try moving with your breath. For example, lift your arms as you feel the natural flow of your inhalation and start to lower as you exhale. Let your body follow your breath.
Spend some time exploring different genres of music:classical, rock, jazz, opera, pop. Notice which songs invigorate you, relax you, make you smile. When you are feeling sluggish, try taking a “music break” and play a song that invigorates you. If you are feeling anxious try playing a song that relaxes you.
Waking up feeling refreshed will have an impact on our entire day. Having good sleep hygiene will help us get a good nights sleep.
Travel, stress and long work hours can also have an effect on our sleep. The ultimate nap is a sleep meditation using theta brain waves to allow us to go into a deep sleep and come out in 10, 20, or 30 minutes.
Body movement such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, martial arts and yoga can be a great way to move the body allowing the mind to relax. If you don’t have time to do a 60 minute video, why not make it a goal to do 10 minutes of the video a day and complete it by the end of the week?
Qi Gong Video
Guided meditations are oral narratives from an instructor with a focused intention encouraging visualization. The link below offers some short guided meditations. Itunes and Amazon also offer many goal specific guided meditations to release stress, and achieve goals.
Try a few different types of meditations mentioned above and notice how your body and mind respond. Start with a 2 minute breath check in, a guided meditation while commuting or a 10 minute movement meditation. Your body and brain will thank you!