Wednesday, October 29, 2008

meditation make easy

Meditation is a scary word to many people. As we dive into our practice of healthy living on and off the yoga mat together, I want to begin by focusing on this misunderstood must-have for our everyday busy lives. Throughout this weekly column, I'll offer you tips and tools for infusing your world with doses of tranquility.

Take a moment to be in your body. Find a comfortable place to sit still and simply be. Sure, this can be done on the metro, at the office, or on your hot pink meditation cushion - wherever you can carve out space in your schedule. Rest your hands onto your thighs, lengthen through the crown of your head, draw your shoulder blades down your back as your chest lifts, and close your eyes.

Observe the sensations around and within you - people chatting nearby, soup simmering on the stovetop, wind blowing, a clock ticking, mind replaying yesterday's drama, hips aching. Just observe without judgment.

Now visualize your thoughts passing through your mind like floating clouds - avoid holding onto them and avoid pushing them away. Let them come. Focus on each in breath and each out breath to work to tame your mind. Adding in something that you repeat to yourself, such as a mantra, assists with this process. I like to use a mantra to help keep me focused or I'm sure to create more to-dos. A favorite is to repeat "let" on the inhale and "go" on the exhale. You can make up your own by repeating something simple such as "breathe in" and "breathe out."

Try this for 5 minutes to start and then gradually build up to 20 minutes each day. Athletes and artists alike have found this simple technique of just being with their breath to bring tremendous creativity and endurance results. Try it, you'll like it!

Kimberly Wilson, designer of TranquiliT, and author of Hip Tranquil Chick.

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