Maybe you think that as a yoga teacher I am a hard-core meditator who sits down in her sacred corner every day and floats off to the magical land of “peacin’ out”. The truth is, I’m not. Even though I know of and can espouse the benefits of a meditation practice, as a working mom establishing a yoga teaching business, there are more days than I’d like to admit that I don’t have a proper sit down session.
Though I love the few times per week when I get anywhere between two to thirty minutes meditation, adding another “to do” on a very long list all ready doesn’t feel right. Instead, I’m happy to squeeze little meditative moments in whatever way I can.
So try this the next time things are starting to feel like a bit too much. You know, the moment when life presses up to you more than you’d like. Typically it’s an unpleasant, harried, unstable and uncomfortable moment but it can also be a really exciting one. A little tiff with a spouse, your toddler’s cup of milk spilt on a freshly prepared breakfast that has to be made again but you need to get out the door soon so you can get onto that conference call, or you’re stuck in gridlock.
You can also feel the squeeze during the highs. Maybe you’ve got an abundance of ideas, priorities or projects and you’re not sure where to focus or how to start, or perhaps you’re finally accepting that big award, making that big presentation as an industry leader, or marrying your best friend in just a few minutes. Get the picture?
Take a deep, long inhalation. Feel the breath filling up the entirety of your lungs, rib cage, belly and upper shoulders expanding, being mindful to create space between your chest and chin. You may wish to close your eyes(please don’t do this is you’re stuck in gridlock!). Perhaps with the deep long inhalation you notice a lightening, as in a floating, sensation coming to your body.
Allow your spine to lengthen as the breath fills the entirety of your chest cavity right down to your expanding belly with the inhalation; perhaps you can feel space increasing between the vertebrae. This spaciousness grows though your entire body, you may even feel the breath reach through your limbs and to tips of fingers and toes, possibly radiating out of the crown of your head.
Pause, gently holding the breath for as long as comfortably uncomfortable, you don’t want to go blue in the face, instead allow a natural urge to let go build. Maybe it’s a fraction of a second, or quite a bit longer.
Exhale, and, if you feel inclined, let out an audible sigh. Focus on the body’s sensation, the deflating back towards the centre, possibly noticing the downward pull of gravity, the grounding.
Open your eyes, and shift your focus. See anything different?
Welcome to your one-breath meditation, you undercover buddhist monk you! Repeat throughout the day at opportune moments. With time, you may give in to an urge to have a few of these breaths together.
I’d love to hear how this went, and if you noticed any changes. When was it most helpful? Did it bring anything up or settle anything down? Perhaps you do this on a regular basis; anything to share with our little community?
And of course it would be cool bananas if you could kindly share this post with anyone you think could use a big deep breath right about now.