Give a boost to your home practice with these simple, yet powerful mini meditations.
I'm a firm believer in the power of the home yoga and meditation practice. It's my way to start the day with joy, peace and gratitude. It keeps me balanced.
But some days my mind is full of ideas I want to start on, or I have so many things to do, that I get out of the practice habit... just when I need it most. When that happens, I turn to very simple, short practices that help me to get back on track.
I went to a yoga retreat this summer in Ireland. I had been once before to Macalla Farm (www.macallafarm.ie). In fact, it was exactly 5 years to the day that I returned to beautiful Clare Island off the west coast, with its soaring cliffs and thousands of sheep. It's the most unique place I've ever been for a retreat, combining excellent teachings of yoga, meditation and mindfulness with fabulous home-grown organic food, cozy lodgings, hill walks, and a small group of lovely Irish people. The fabulous owner/teachers Ciara and Christophe offered many ideas for a personal practice, and one of my favourite take aways were these short meditation practices.
Try any or all of these 3 easy, self-guided mini meditations that can give your home practice a boost, or motivate you to start one. You can take just a few minutes, or as long as you like. You get to decide. So easy! It doesn't have to be complicated to be powerful!
1) OPEN UP TO SOUND
Sit comfortably, taking a few breaths to ground you in your mini meditation practice. Be aware of yourself sitting. Notice the parts of your body connected to the floor or the seat. Follow the contours of the right side of your body with your mind, and be aware of all the space to your right side. Follow the contours of the left side of your body with your mind, and be aware of all the space to your left side. Bring awareness to the front of your body, and your back, and to all the space in front and in back of you.
Be aware of the room you are sitting in, of everything in that room, and notice any sensations you might be experiencing.
Now bring your awareness to your ears, imagine them really opening up, imagine them picking up all the sounds available like a highly sensitive microphone. And just listen. Be careful to not start thinking about the sounds. Don't create any narrative around them. Just think "that's a sound". Just listen. Just notice. All the sounds in your soundscape.
Sit and listen for as long as you like.
2) STAND IN THE BALANCE BETWEEN EFFORT AND EASE
Stand with your feet hip width apart and parallel, arms hanging at your sides, shoulders relaxed, eyes closed. Bring your awareness to your feet, feel them heavy and solid, visualize roots extending from the soles of your feet and anchoring you strongly to the earth. Gently engage your knees and thigh muscles, your abdominal muscles. Feel the solid strength of your lower body, holding you upright.
Then bring awareness to the crown of your head, and imagine it is being pulled to the sky by a string, lifting you just a little taller, creating space between each vertebra. Visualize this spaciousness, this lightness. And breathe into it.
And then imagine strings pulling your shoulders gently apart and away from each other, creating openness across your chest and in your heart.
Take a moment to experience and appreciate this lovely balance between the solid, weightiness of your lower body and the light, spaciousness and openness of your upper body. Notice the integrity of your posture. And notice the confidence this brings.
3) GROUND YOURSELF WITH YOUR FOUNDATION
Sit comfortably on your meditation cushion so that your hips are raised off the floor and you. Become aware of your sitz bones, the two points of your pelvis bone. Rock back and forth, noticing the movement of your pelvis and the curve of your lower back as you do this. Come back to sit on the sitz bones and stay. Notice the connection with the floor.
Now bring awareness to all parts of your body that are in contact with the floor - this is your foundation. Imagine it is like the triangular base of a pyramid, solid and grounded. Always in relationship with gravity. Try to press into the floor evenly through all parts of your foundation. Receive the steadiness and the support that your foundation offers.
And sit a little taller, as though you are being drawn up towards the sky bringing spaciousness into your spine, allowing your to appreciate the lightness of your upper body. Notice how tiny adjustments to your posture can change your breath.
Notice the contrast and the completeness of this lightness in your torso and the stability of your foundation.
Simply stay in this grounded awareness for a few minutes. If you mind wanders towards thinking, gently bring it back to your foundation.
Our Practice page offers lots of ideas on how to get started with yoga and meditation and to create your personal home practice. For tips on how to get started with meditation, click HERE.
And if you are looking for a wonderful yoga retreat next year, please consider Macalla Farm on Clare Island, County Mayo, Ireland. It's quite a journey from Canada, but entirely worth it. www.macallafarm.ie
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