Stop & Breath; meditation 101 made simple

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Meditation is not about sitting for hours in lotus position repeating mantras over and over again; who has time for that?   Meditation is not complicated, although for many it can be so intimidating there’s an unwillingness to even try it.  But as the demands of our fast-paced life take over our minds with stress, worry and unhappiness, practicing meditation can give you the ability to swiftly relieve the chaos. I was a skeptic myself at first, but once I started practicing yoga and experiencing touches of meditation, I became open-minded and gave it a try with incredible results.

Meditation made simple is taking a few minutes to stop and breath, here’s how.

Sit tall.

It doesn’t matter where you sit, whether it be the floor, on your bed or a meditation chair, but being comfortable and sitting up tall is key.  Work on extending from the top of your head, through your neck and back straight up towards the ceiling in a straight line

Relax.

Release your shoulders, close your eyes and consciously relax each part of your body one at a time from your toes, feet, legs, center, neck, head and even your tongue; which is a common area to hold tension.

Be still and quiet.

You’re sitting tall, you’re relaxed, so just take a moment to be still and quiet.  Be aware of what surrounds you, but don’t react or change your posture.

Breathe.

Now that you’re comfortably sitting, turn your attention to your breath.  Breathe in silently and deeply through your nose by engaging your diaphragm and filling your lungs fully without forcing; then release through your mouth.  Enjoy and appreciate every breath.

Calm your mind.

Focusing on your breath will enable you to find calm and become fully present.  Yes, thoughts or outside disruptions will occur naturally, and you should acknowledge them, but then set them aside and focus back on your breath.  Some days your focus will be better than others, depending on what’s going on in your life, but the more you practice, the better you will become at meditating.

Completing your practice.

Practice for 5-10 minutes or longer if you prefer.  It’s more beneficial to practice for a few minutes each day than for attempting long periods one day per week.  You can end your practice by deciding on a number of breaths you will count before finishing or set an alarm for a predetermined length of time.  When you’ve come to the end, slowly bring your attention back to your surroundings, gently wiggle you fingers and toes while beginning to move your hands, feet, arms and legs, then slowly opening your eyes.  Take your time, gently get up and enjoy the rest of your day.


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