Sure, many of us would love to be able to spend hours each day centreing ourselves and doing the things that make our mind, body, and spirit sing. But we all have commitments – and sometimes we need something to give us a quick lift when we only have five minutes to spare.
Here are a few things to try in those very situations.
Unlike transcendental meditation, this style of meditation requires your eyes to be open. This lets you be fully present in the moment you are experiencing, and also lets you integrate the calmness you create in your meditation into how you behave every day. It lets you generate the calm of meditation while still being engaged in the world around you.
Find a point to softly focus on with your eyes, then relax into a meditation posture. Let the spine be long by imagining a golden thread drawing the crown of your head to the top of the ceiling. Let the shoulders melt away and relax down the spine, and breath deeply into the base of your belly. You may repeat a mantra or calming phrase to yourself – whichever kind of meditation practice feels comfortable to you.
Also known as “corpse pose”, savasana can help you recharge and reset almost instantly. While it’s usually done at the end of a yoga class, you can still benefit from the revitalising energy it brings at any time of the day. Lay back, ensuring your shoulders are relaxed with shoulder blades flattened. Open your palms and let your toes flop either side of your heels. Focus on your breath and bodily sensations. If thoughts drift into your head, don’t beat yourself up or become agitated. Simply acknowledge it happened, then draw your attention back to your breathing.
The act of wishing love and light to yourself and others is an automatic way to relax your body, mind and spirit.
Most people think of three well wishes to send out to themselves, to a person they love deeply, to their community, and finally to the greater world. Try to focus your attention on someone you have a less than perfect relationship with as well.
Traditionally loving-kindness meditations will repeat three or four intentions or well wishes. You can think of your own variations, but you can use the below to give you a bit of inspiration:
You can practice a body scan while in savasana, seated comfortably, or even lying in bed. There are lots of guided body scans available to stream online or as part of mindfulness apps, but you can also take yourself through your own if you’d prefer to.
The idea is to bring attention to each part of your body, then to focus your energy and breath there to let go of any tension you may or may not be holding there consciously. Start by bringing your attention to the parts of your body that are making contact with the ground (or chair, if you are seated). Then begin from the toes upwards, being sure to include ankles, knees, hips, reproductive organs, lungs, heart, parts of the face and the scalp.
While 5 minutes isn’t really long enough for a full digital detox, you can definitely calm your mind by putting down your phone or stepping away from the computer for a few minutes. These devices tend to load our minds with more information than it is comfortable to process. Try to take a walk outside to get a glimpse of the horizon, or close your eyes for a few calming minutes to clear your head. Another way to reduce the impact of your phone or tablet on your calm state of mind is to reduce the brightness of your screen, especially at least an hour or so before bed.
Yoga poses that work the digestive system all work on our ability to eliminate waste that we do not need. Sun salutations will get the digestive system moving, as will poses that require twists. Try seated twist pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) as an example.
Sit down with your legs outstretched in front of you. Cross your right foot over your left knee, and plant it on the outside of your left knee. Place your right hand at the base of your spine and press down so you sit up as straight as possible. Next, twist your torso around to the right, with the left elbow over the right thigh to get a deeper twist. Look over your right shoulder about a metre to the ground behind you. Try to use your eyes to lead your body into a deeper and deeper twist, lengthening the spine up on each inhale and twisting further around on each exhale. Hold for 5 breaths on each side.
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