From keeping your nose pressed painfully to the grindstone at work to trying to transform your humble abode into a Pinterest-enviable palace, life is full of stressors. One way to take a much needed break from these stresses is to meditate.
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Meditation provides a wonderfully relaxing means by which to reconnect with your inner-self and take a break from the rigors of everyday life. When encouraged to engage in meditation, many would-be meditators argue that they simply don’t have the time to dedicate to a task of this type.
In truth, however, meditation doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. If you’re struggling to shoulder the burden of modern life, give mini-meditation a try.
1. Counted Breathing
Start simple with counted breathing to ease your way into meditation. In this so-easy-a-kid-could-do-it (provided that kid can count) exercise, you need only to count each time you take a break in and out.
Sit in a comfortable position and think “1” as you inhale. When you exhale, think “2”. As you inhale again, think “3.” Continue this simple pattern until you get to 10. Repeat this process three times for a quick and easy de-stress session.
While you may feel that you are truly in touch with your body, in all likelihood there are parts of your body you never pause to ponder. Force yourself to truly consider every part of your body, from the tips of each extremity to your inner core, with this simple exercise.
Sit in a comfortable and quiet spot, close your eyes and start to scan your body, mentally. Start with the top of your head. Concentrate on capturing any sensation you can feel there. Gradually, move down your body, branching off as you get to each extremity and then ultimately returning to your core.
3. Breathe Match
Creating a rhythmic pattern can help you to connect with your body and with the world around you. Craft a simple – and instrument free – rhythm with your breath by practising breathe matching. To perform this simple meditative task, settle yourself in a comfortable position and take a deep breath. As you inhale, count silently. Continue to inhale until your lungs feel full.
When you stop, mentally note the count you reach; try for four or five to ensure you fully expand your lungs. Next, exhale, counting silently as you do. Strive to exhale until you reach the same count you reached when you inhaled. Repeat this process at least three times.
4. Sweet Sixteen Breathing
Once you’ve mastered breathe matching, add a new trick to your meditation routine. Try the slightly more complicated, although still relatively easy, sweet sixteen breathing pattern. To perform this simple meditative feat, count silently as you inhale, inhaling until you reach a four count. Once you reach your count, stop and gently hold your breath, again counting to four.
After holding for four counts, exhale – you guessed it – for four counts. Round out this exercise by holding your exhale for, as you likely predicted, four counts. Repeat this pattern three times. If you find yourself getting light headed, modify your breathing, taking gentler breaths and inhaling slower to ensure you aren’t over-filling your lungs.
5. Belly Breathing
Round out your bag of meditative tricks with this simple routine that helps you fully realize your lung capacity and more effectively oxygenate your body. To perform this simple technique, take a deep breath. As you inhale, imagine that there is a balloon blowing up in your belly. Put your hand on your stomach to monitor the degree to which your stomach expands. After you’ve taken in as much air as you possibly can, hold your inhale for a moment and then release it.
Repeat several times. Try to take in more air each time you do, but don’t push it to the point where you become uncomfortable. As you perform this exercise with increasing regularity, you will likely find yourself capable of taking in more and more air each time.