I can’t meditate; my mind’s too busy!…
…is one of the most common phrases used to defend the non-practice of meditation. Except this is exactly the reason or motivation we use to establish and maintain a regular meditation practice.
In the video series ‘Help! I can’t do yoga’ for meditation, I explain the importance of establishing a comfortable and grounded posture alongside regularity in the time of day and location to best establish a meditation practice. We are often ambushed by progressive discomfort during our meditation which distracts the mind from its focus and a naturally active mind needs little prompting to find distraction! So we use the physical sensation of comfort to encourage the brain/mind to soften and sit calmly within the framework of the body. To begin your meditation you can follow these steps:
- allow the shoulders to slide down the back ribs, keep the chin parallel to the floor and gently close the eyes
- take 3 deep breaths to ‘log on’ to your meditation exercise
- allow the breath to follow a natural rhythm and observe it without judgement or definition
What to observe:
- the movement of the diaphragm muscle which draws downwards on the inhalation resourcing energy and releases the energy on the exhalation as it is pushed back upwards by the organs of digestion
- the physical response to the breath so the expansion of the rib cage and abdomen, the widening of the collar bones and separation of the shoulder blades
- the journey of the breath as it is drawn in through the nostrils and travels down through the windpipe into the lungs on the inhalation and moves back out of the lungs up through the throat and out again through the nostrils on the exhalation
- the place in your body where you feel your breath originate
- the area at the highest point of the nostrils in the centre of your head where, on inhaling, the air brushes past on its trajectory towards the lungs
When you become aware that your mind has drifted away from its focus, bring it back to the breath.
When you decide to end the exercise you should take a further 3 deep breaths to instruct your brain that you are breaking away from the focus and becoming aware of the sounds and sensations around you. Lower your chin to your chest before opening your eyes so that you do not over-stimulate this sense, and therefore your brain, initially.