Many people find it challenging to spend a long time sitting still for a traditional meditation practice. Sitting with the spine straight may be painful or uncomfortable for some, whilst others have mental conditions like ADHD which can lead to restlessness.
Luckily, there are many practices which make it possible for anyone to experience the benefits of meditation. Here are a few examples.
A walking meditation can be a great way to get some gentle exercise whilst also bringing some serenity to your day. It can be done in a large room, but an outdoor space is best – especially one in nature, like a park.
To begin with, start walking slowly and really notice how it feels when your feet touch the ground.
Then start to explore the other senses. What can you hear? A river flowing? Traffic? Children playing?
And what can you see? Maybe you’ll notice the way the light filters through the leaves of the trees, or some beautiful wildflowers. If you come to your chosen place often, try to notice something new.
Notice the smells too – maybe freshly mown grass, food from restaurants, or the smell of rain.
Try to fully experience being present and noticing your surroundings. Bring your attention back to your feet to finish the meditation.
This word seems to be on everyone’s lips lately. But what does it actually mean?
Mindfulness is about living intentionally and being fully present. As in the walking meditation, it’s about really appreciating each moment. This may mean paying close attention to everything you experience through your senses, or simply carrying out your everyday activities in a mindful way.
What does it mean to act mindfully? It’s about doing things very deliberately. Rather than rushing through things, you take your time and do things to the best of your ability. You really can do this anywhere. It can be as simple as taking some deep breaths before a stressful job interview or kneading dough slowly and therapeutically.
Unlike most meditation practices, you don’t have to set aside time for mindfulness – you can incorporate it into whatever you’re doing. This makes it ideal for bringing some calmness into a busy, hectic lifestyle.
Though yoga is often thought of as a physical practice, this ancient tradition is about all-round well-being. When practiced in a slow, mindful way, yoga can be a form of moving meditation.
Try looking up some basic yoga poses and holding each one for at least 30 seconds. Whilst you hold the pose, take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breathe into your abdomen rather than your chest. With each breath, see if you can move further into the pose. But be careful not to overstretch yourself – if you feel any sharp pain, then release the pose.
Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting completely still with your eyes shut. A state of calmness and serenity is accessible to anyone at almost any time. And the more you practice, the easier it gets, so don’t be disheartened if it seems hard at first. Keep trying and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.