Cultivating A Practice
Perhaps some you are trying to manifest some changes in your lives. Maybe some of you are still pondering what the new year has in store for you. In either case, I know that there are a great many people out there who have decided to manifest a meditation practice of sorts (thanks to my meditation app for providing that inspiring stat). In fact, this first week of January has shown a marked increase in meditators at any given time that I look. Why should you care? Call it meditation, call it sitting still, call it mindfulness. Heck, call it breathing. The research has spoken. Having some type of mindfulness based practice can significantly help manage and reduce stress, result in positive health changes, improve memory and concentration, and have an overall positive impact on your life. Some of the things I hear most often (most were also true for myself) are: “I don’t have the time to fit this in if I am going to get a workout in, practice yoga, eat well, and get all the other things done in my day”, “I’m too tired at the end of the day, I just want to go to bed”, “I don’t know where to start”, “I’ve tried, but my mind just wanders and I can’t stop my thoughts”, “I’m physically uncomfortable and/or agitated when I try to sit still”.
Take a few minutes to find stillness within. The best way to start with stillness is to sit for 1-2 minutes – just set your phone timer (I promise, it goes fast). Or, download the free Insight Timer – Meditation Timer app from iTunes. Now, take a deep breath in through your nose – visualize it filling your abdomen completely full, and then exhale very slowly through your nose. Let your exhales be as long (or longer) than your inhales. Just simply focus on your breath. Allow your thoughts to come and go, as if they are clouds passing in the sky. Don’t judge your thoughts, simply notice them and bring your focus back to your breath. Notice the subtle sensation of relaxation and calm in your body. Congratulations, you’ve just activated your parasympathetic nervous system and given your body a few minutes of amazing physical benefits, while balancing your mind and connecting with your spirit!
Written by Amy Mazeski