When I suggest meditation to clients, more often than not, they will say they have no time to meditate. When I asked Deepak Chopra what I should say to such people, he said, “if one does not have time to meditate once a day, one should meditate twice a day.”
Other people feel they cannot sit still: well there is walking meditation:
Here in the photo on the left, I am practicing walking meditation I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh during his 5-Day Retreat, at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY in 1999.
In my opinion, meditation is the most important ‘time’ one can give oneself. Everything else falls into place when we start our day with a meditation practice. Ideally, it should be done first thing in the morning before turning on the news or checking emails or media.
For more than twenty years, I have practiced meditation and mindfulness techniques with various teachers, including The Dalai Lama.
The other teachers I have studied with are:
So COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, it is imperative for all of us to learn to breathe properly and breathe outside in nature or by the ocean as often as possible. I am not suggesting that we are all walking around without breathing - that would be impossible. However, most of us are not conscious of how we breathe and the the benefits of conscious breathing exercises.
There is scientific evidence that slow, deep breathing can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Also, people with hypertension showed short term reductions blood pressure after guided slow breathing exercises.
Finally, let’s talk about the importance of nostril breathing as opposed to mouth breathing. If you get a chance, please watch Irish Respiratory Therapist, Patrick McKeown in conversation with James Nestor on u-tube. Nestor just published a book about the lost art of breathing: “Breath - The New Science of a Lost Art”.
I have woven this nostril breathing into my Meditation and Pranayama classes - my students now ask me to teach if - if I forget - so there’s a testimonial for the reader.
Choose a piece of Art - See this painting “Untitled (27)”, by Emily Mason at the current exhibition at the Bruce Museum: “She Sweeps with Many-Colored Brooms.” (November 22, 2020 - March 21, 2021)
Relax: Give yourself permission to relax as you look at the painting. Calm and focus your mind.
Breathe: Notice your breath as you breathe in and out. Don’t try to change your breathing; just breathe as normal and become aware of the breath.
Release: Pay attention to how your body feels as you look at the painting. Are you holding tension anywhere? Check-in with your back, your hips, your shoulders, your neck, your jaw, your eyes. Soften and relax.
Forgive: Allow your thoughts to come and go. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, just gently bring your focus back to the painting.
Accept: Make any outside noise part of the experience so that it doesn’t bother you as you look at the painting in the fullness of time.