As a meditation teacher, I've heard every excuse under the sun as to why people can’t meditate. “I don’t have time!” or, “I just can’t sit still,” to name a few.
It's reasons like these that inspired me to teach mini-meditations that only take one minute. In order to meditate regularly, you don’t always have to commit to a practice that feels like it's taking over your life. If you focus on your breath for just 60 seconds, you have successfully implemented meditation into your day.
Creating "mindful minutes" can compliment a daily meditation practice that you might already have, or as a standalone practice. I have many students who prefer to accumulate these mindful minutes throughout their day, instead of sitting for extended periods of time. It's amazing how quickly they can start to add up!
Our attention is often scattered amidst myriad responsibilities like work, family and friends. But these mindful moments can offer reprieve, helping to combat stress and bring a greater sense of calm into our day, one minute at a time.
I suggest practicing these mini-meditations throughout the day when you are:
- First waking up in the morning
- Waiting at a traffic light
- Standing in line at the grocery store
- In the carpool line waiting to pick up your kids
- Before you sit down to eat a meal
- In the shower
- At work before or after a stressful meeting
- Before you get into bed
- Or anytime you feel that you need to re-group or have a moment of downtime
While you begin to solidify these new habits of bringing more mindfulness into your day, you sometimes may need a little reminder. Post a sticky note next to your computer that says “breathe” and whenever you look at it, use one of the following five techniques. Once you get used to these exercises, they eventually become a more natural part of your everyday routine.
Here are five mini-meditations you can do in one minute:
1. Match your inhales and exhales.
Take a comfortable breath in and count how long it takes you to do so. Most people reach a count of 3, 4 or 5. Keep in mind that the number isn’t important, so long as it is comfortable for you. Whatever number you reached on your inhale, match that number on your exhale. Repeat for one minute, setting a timer so you can focus on the exercise.
2. Count your breaths.
As you inhale, silently think 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4 … all the way to 10. Repeat three times.
3. Do a short body scan.
Rest your attention on different parts of your body, starting with the top of your head and moving toward your toes. As you notice each one, focus your attention there and consciously relax that part of you. In a minute you should be able to do your scalp, eyes, cheeks, mouth, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, belly and legs.
4. Try the "Sweet 16" breath.
Inhale for a silent count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold the exhale for 4. Repeat three times.
5. Practice belly breathing.
Take a nice long inhale and pretend you are blowing up a balloon in your stomach as you do so. Really feel your belly expanding as you breathe. You can even place one hand on your belly so as to feel the sensation of your belly expanding. Hold for a moment and slowly exhale all the air out of your balloon. Repeat for one minute, setting a timer if you need to.
As you can see, any minute can be made mindful one. As you exhale, think about releasing what is no longer serving you. Take the opportunity to exhale out any stress and anxiety you may feel. On the inhales, decide if you are bringing that same negativity back into your body, or if you are making a choice to invite peace, calm and joy into your day instead.
With each new breath comes another opportunity to choose, so I encourage you to make the most of it.
Get a free download of Hot Mess to Mindful Mom: 40 Ways to Bring Balance, Happiness, and Joy into Your Every Day here.
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