When you hear the word meditation, you probably visualize a calm person in a serene atmosphere, sitting silently in lotus pose. And sure, that’s meditation. But it’s just one example of meditation. Meditation can be so many things and it can come in a lot of different forms. But, what is meditation to begin with?
Meditation is sitting in lotus pose doing nothing, right? Wrong. Meditation is not about doing nothing. It’s actually about doing one thing, and that one thing is being mindful; present and in the moment. Do you need to be sitting in lotus pose for it? Nope. Do you need the calm atmosphere? Absolutely not. Meditation is meant to provide you peace and calm, wherever you are. You don’t need to go somewhere to meditate, you can bring mediation wherever and whenever you need it.
It would of course be great if you can have a scheduled meditation session each day. It will most definitely boost your mood, allow you to take a break, revitalize you and help you better face the day ahead. You can then do it sitting in lotus, you can do it standing, you can use an app for guided meditation such as one of the most notable ones, Headspace. By all means if you can do that, I would strongly recommend it. But, if this is not something you can do for now, you can still meditate throughout your day.
If you’re waiting in line at the bank, waiting for your turn at the doctor, driving in your car, riding a bike, you can meditate. You can make use of that time by putting your phone away – you’d probably be on it, I know – and sit there and be. Listen to your breath, bring your attention to it. You can’t tell your brain to shut off and that’s not what meditation is. Your brain has to be occupied with something and so you should give it something to occupy it with. So, breathe, and notice how you breathe and stay with it. Try to slow down your breathing perhaps. Or perhaps you’d come up with your own mantra and recite it, it can be anything you want, just a sentence to repeat over and over. Maybe you can do a body scan and bring awareness to your body one part at a time. Start with the head, move down to the shoulders, the arms, the spine. One at a time till you get to your toes. Or again, you can use the help of an app or a YouTube video.
My yoga teacher once asked us in class, “How do you give yourself a break? How do you relax?” Most of us answered that we do so by watching a series or a movie, listening to music, reading a book. And while these are all great things to do, our teacher argued that it wasn’t a break we were giving our minds, it’s just an escape and more work for our minds to do actually. “Your mind works for you 24 hours a day,” he said. “Can you give it an hour? Half an hour? 10 minutes a day even to actually relax and revitalize?” This is one of the many things meditation does for you. Its benefits are countless and it doesn’t only help you while you’re meditating, you’ll find that the mindfulness will seep into most other things you do; the quality of your day and your actions changes.
So next time you’re about to reach for your phone while waiting in line, next time you’re mowing your lawn, next time you’re cooking or painting or tidying up, try to see if you can meditate along the way. Focus on that one thing and that one thing only. And then perhaps you’ll end up scheduling a 10-minute daily meditation session or 20 minutes, or 30. Consistency is key and so make it easy for yourself. Make it accessible and enjoyable. You’ll soon reap so many benefits from meditation and it’ll become an integral part of your day and your lifestyle.