There is anxiety in the air. We can all feel it. Even those of us who are usually calm, cool and collected are feeling the strain. If your nerves are getting the best of you, now would be a great time to start a meditation practice. Below are simple Meditation Instructions to get you started. Read them over to get yourself set up and then begin. Namaste.
- Choose a time when you can take about 5 or 10 minutes to practice. I recommend morning, late afternoon or early evening rather than just before bed time because you may tend to fall asleep.
- Next, find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. If there are other family members in the house, let them know that you would like to be left alone for a few minutes. Shouldn’t be a problem now, since we are all ordered to keep our distance anyway! If there are pets, keep them in another room if necessary. Kittens are cute, but they can be quite a distraction when you are trying to meditate.
- If possible, try to set up a regular time and place for you to build your practice. In the beginning, it may be valuable to experiment with different possibilities to get the best sense of what will work for you. Once you do, make it sacred.
- As for how to meditate, I recommend sitting in a chair where you can maintain a relaxed but erect posture. However, you may find sitting cross-legged on a raised pillow more comfortable. Or, you may prefer a more relaxed lying down posture. However, keep in mind, a too-relaxed posture may lead to drowsiness or falling asleep.
- Once you have selected your position yourself, you can choose to do a silent meditation or you can listen to a guided meditation from one of the many apps available. I like Insight Timer myself. There is also Calm, Headspace and the Peloton app has some too. If you use a guided meditation, it will keep time for you. If you are going to meditate silently, set a soft tone on your phone to chime after 5 or 10 minutes.
- When you are ready, close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath or on the words of your guided meditation. When your mind wanders, and it will, simply return your attention to your breath or guidance. Repeat this pattern of returning to your breath or guidance for the length of your meditation, when your time is up, gently open your eyes and stretch out.
Congratulations, you’re a meditator. Use this quarantine time to establish a daily practice. Daily meditation has been scientifically shown to decrease stress and anxiety and increase well-being. Keep in mind that learning to meditate is a skill. It may take a while to feel comfortable with it. If you notice you are judging yourself—“I’m too distracted…I can’t get rid of my thoughts….I can’t concentrate…I’m too restless…”— just observe these as thoughts, and return your attention gently to your breath. Gradually this will get easier. It’s all part of the process.
Until we “meet” again, stay well and at least 6 feet away from everyone else!
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