Do three cleansing breaths.
Inhale naturally and then exhale slowly through your lips until every last bit of air is compressed from your belly. Repeat for a total of three cleansing breaths and do this as many times during the day as possible or when you need a quick mental break.
Benefits: this practice clears the body of excess wind, which creates mental chatter and overwhelm. The cleansing breaths also dissolve bloating and reduce inflammation in the body.
Take a relaxation shower in five breaths.
Can you stop and take a break long enough to be fully aware of the inhale and exhale for five breaths, without your mind wandering? This practice is as simple as being aware of five breaths and relaxing your body in sections. On your first breath in and out, relax your head and all the muscles in your face and scalp. With the second breath, relax your neck and shoulders. With the third, relax your heart region and arms. With the fourth, relax your belly, lower back and hips. With the fifth, relax your legs.
Set a timer for five minutes.
Oftentimes our mediation time is more focused and powerful if we limit the time. We know there is an endpoint, so we’re more disciplined about doing the absolute best we can. Focused five minute meditations can be more impactful than if we carve out an hour for meditation and let our minds wander during that time.
Bonus: Want the most powerful time of day for those five minutes? The time of day that’s most conducive to a meditative mind is at 4:15am. What to do: set an alarm to wake you up at 4:15am, sit in meditation for five minutes. Then get up — or go back to sleep. If you don’t manage to do it at 4:15am, any time is a good time, and most people have a more consistent practice if done the first thing in the morning before they start their day (before checking their phones).
Meditate while you’re on the go.
Meditation is about mindful-awareness, not about sitting still. You can meditate while you walk, drive a car or ride in a train. Commit a certain part of your daily routine to meditation. If you ride a train to work, devote ‘from x stop to y stop’ — or the entire ride — to being aware of your breath, the sounds you hear and relaxing your body. If you drive a car, every time to get to a red stoplight, become aware of your body, your breathing, the temperature of the air, what you’re listening to and the space around your body. If you walk, take a portion of your walk and commit to paying attention to how it feels when the soles of your feet touch the ground, while noticing how you’re breathing and what the environment around you feels, smells, looks, sounds like. If your mind tries to take you back to the past or into the future, gently unhook it from thoughts and place your attention back on your body, your breath, perceiving your senses and the space around you.
Find a tree and sit with it.
Go outside and sit at a distance that you can observe a tree (or look out a window at a tree if inclement weather). Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes open. Focus your eyes on one point of the tree and notice how your peripheral vision can become aware of every single leaf on the tree, even though you are only staring at one point in front of you. Relax your body and become aware of how everything feels, smells, sounds in your environment, while simultaneously staring at one point of the tree and being aware of every part of the tree. This is called multichannel awareness. You can do this while watching anything in your environment, but starting with a tree is great practice.