Is mindfulness and meditation getting you frustrated? Feeling like your not quite getting it?
Don’t stress! Our minds can be a raging tornado these days and trying to get it to quiet down and focus on the here and now takes practice and patience.
Here’s a couple of easy techniques to get you into the flow. Firstly let’s break it down to one minute, 60 seconds of mindful practice. You can set yourself an egg timer, in general I would recommend leaving phones and technologies in another room.
Two great focus points are breathing and counting. Breathing is something we do every minute of everyday and take very little notice of. But it’s incredibly powerful, oxygen is one of the essential ingredients to our bodies and life on earth. Oxygen helps to repair our cells, feed our brains, contract our muscles and calm our nerves. And surprisingly many people aren’t doing it properly! Our body needs deep measured breathing to take in enough oxygen to cleanse and fuel our body.
Find yourself a comfortable position, some people prefer to sit cross legged, straight backed with their hands resting outward on their knees, thumbs and middle finger touching. Other may prefer to lie letting their legs and arms fall naturally to the sides, palms facing upward. Begin by taking some of the biggest breaths you have taken that day. Take a deep breath in through the nose, feel it travel down your body and your stomach expand like a balloon filled with air. You may like to hold your breath for a few counts, and the release it again slowly letting your stomach fall gently back down. Repeat your breathing, notice how your breath spreads through your body and it’s revitalising effect. When you find yourself able to last 60 seconds purely connected to your task try gradually extending your time limits.
Counting can be very useful as well because it provides something for our mind to focus on. If you’re really struggling with those nagging thoughts begin by trying to count to 10. At any point another though creeps its way in, refresh and start again from 1. Some people find it useful to count their breathing; 3 counts breathing in, holding for 3 and breathing out for 3. And then extending their counts.
Things to remember, everything takes practice, particularly training our mind from life long bad habits. Be kind and patient with yourself. And don’t forget to enjoy the experience! Create a space that you find calming and peaceful, light some candles or incense, put on some comfortable clothes or maybe your prefer to meditate outside. Find what works for you and begin to breathe.