JoJoga Junction > Meditation at Christmas
This time of year can be hectic and we often can lose sight of what this time of year is all about.
As shopping malls begin to play Christmas music and change their displays from Halloween Goblins to Santa Claus and his crew, it can shift the excitement and joy that is often present at Christmas into frustration and despair. Moreover, for those of us that do not have family or find themselves alone, this time of year can bring up feelings of loss and sadness.
Research shows that practicing yoga and meditation may have positive effects on cognitive function and brain connectivity.
So, I challenge you to incorporate some simple meditation techniques in to your day to bring you to your center and to help you focus on the tasks at hand without feeling overwhelmed at this time of year.
Try starting your day with 5 to 10 deep, mindful breaths. Try counting the breath – inhale to a count of 4—holding lungs full for 2 counts, then exhaling to a count of 4—holding the lungs empty for 2 counts. This will start your day in a “response” mode rather than “reacting” and help you to stay present in the now. Set an intention to check in with your breath throughout the day and use the opportunities that the Universe gives you—at a traffic light, waiting in a line, a traffic jam.
Take time to come to a complete stop in your day. This can break the cycle of “monkey mind” and help bring you back to the present.
Eat mindfully. This is a time of year when all sorts of temptations abound. Take a moment to express gratitude before a meal, followed by 3 slow, attentive bites. Explore all the different sensations—subtle flavors, textures, temperature, the movement of the bite as it makes its way to your belly.
The world around you can give you cues to help cultivate pauses in your day. When you hear a cue (a car horn, a phone ringing, a Christmas carol, for example), take 3 slow mindful breaths to bring you back to your center.
We are used to mindlessly doing tasks—checking out of the present moment. Make a commitment to be fully present in the moment and using these daily tasks to create moments of observation and reflection. As you are doing a household chore, be aware of the sounds you create, of the sensations that are produced, the physical sensation in your body. Count your breaths or maybe try a mantra (Ham sa, Ohm Shanti, I am Present) to help keep you in the now.
Meditation does not need to be a scheduled activity. Experiment, play and explore. As with any new experience that is worthwhile, be gentle with yourself and take baby steps.
The rewards are never-ending.