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Meditation: the Mini-Vacation
Summertime reminds me of my childhood, growing up in Wyoming – fresh air, open spaces, lazy summer breezes, taking it easy, and grilling on the BBQ. Cue the band, The Eagles and “Take It Easy…”
This week on social media, you might have noticed a theme on unplugging.
Sarah-Nell has been sharing her personal story around finding balance and even how hard it can be unlearning old habits from her successful litigation career to fully unplugging on vacation and being with her family.
She’s shared some great tips, questions and insights to support you on your journey! Since we can’t all fit in Sarah-Nell’s suitcase…below are some quick and easy tips on meditation that I hope might support you.
A quick story:
I fell in love with meditation and yoga as my previous marriage was unraveling.
Yoga and work became my life. When I wasn’t working 60-80 hour weeks in tech, I was on my yoga mat.
That led to me diving into a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. I look back now (happily re-married and in a new chapter of life) and realize how much that experience gave me.
And here’s the good news: you don’t have to lose yourself, get a divorce, or go ALL-IN a yoga teacher training to get the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
Cue sighs of relief… AND you don’t have to be a modern-day monk to meditate.
And oh by the way, meditation is tricky for most of us…so take the pressure off thinking you have to levitate on your first session, ok? 🙂
Ok, let’s get started!
Pro tip: I recommend reviewing these tips all the way through (first) and then downloading the meditation app (Insight Timer – we could do another post on apps, I digress) and then actually dropping into meditation to give it a shot! By the way, Insight Timer is FREE! I use the free version but you can always upgrade if you want more.
Abby’s Top Meditation Tips for busy people:
· Commit to giving meditation a chance – trying it one time is not a practice. Really commit to giving it a shot at becoming a habit. Try it for two weeks: Monday-Friday and see what happens.
· Set Yourself Up for Success – find a space in your home that makes you happy. For me, it’s my zen den. It’s light/airy and reflects my style. I recommend investing in a meditation bolster (if you get into meditation). A few pillows on the floor will do too! Prop yourself up, stack your shoulders over hips, straight (yet relaxed) spine and settle into the pillow sitting cross-legged.
· Try a meditation timer – I like Insight Timer (unguided). I recommend trying to meditate if you’re a newbie for 2-3 minutes. I like the unguided versions so you can really sit with yourself. **Fun fact: yoga is defined as the study of the self, through the self. So meditation and sitting with yourself is considered yoga.** Mind-blown. 🙂
· Notice what shows up. Notice your body (the aches, the stiffness, if you’re tense or not). Notice your breath – is it shallow? Deep? Maybe this is the first time all day you’ve noticed your breath. Start to notice how you’re feeling. Really feeling. Good, bad – whatever – it doesn’t matter. Just notice what shows up.
· Take a moment to become centered – now come into the present moment. Just as you are. Nothing to do. Nothing to fix. Nowhere to go. This is your time. To just be.
· See what you can let go of – scan your body and start to notice if you’re feeling tense anywhere. Can you relax into this moment a bit more? Notice if you have thoughts coming up or even thoughts that are racing –acknowledge your thoughts and like clouds in the sky – allow them to pass you by.
· Take a few deep, centering breaths in and out. Each time allowing yourself to be right here in the present moment. Try 3 breath cycles to see how you can invite a bit of space and peace into the present moment. 3 open inhales and 3 deep relaxing exhales. Each time, slowing down, deepening your breath and giving more s p a c e to the next one.
· Stay here for a few minutes ( you can always increase and stay longer over time). Notice how it feels to just be. Notice if you felt at peace waiting for the timer or anxious or whatever showed up. You are right where you’re meant to be. Note: this is usually the trickiest part for beginners. To just be. Without doing anything. Keep showing up and allowing yourself to stay present.
· Close out your meditation – when your timer “dings” or you feel complete (or the kids ask what’s for dinner). Take a few more gentle, loving breaths. I invite you to think about what you’re grateful for and then draw your hands into heart-center as a symbolic way to thank yourself (and whatever you might believe in) for this moment.
· Notice how you feel when you come out of meditation. People often feel more calm, relaxed…kind of like a mini-vacation. Or notice how stressed you are. That’s ok too. And that’s real. So if it’s the latter – that is completely normal and ok. Just notice how you’re feeling and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. That then becomes information for you and you can reflect – how can I create more space for myself? Or how can I reduce my stress?
We are often so busy DOING, that we forget that we are human-BEINGS.
Notice what shows up when you stop doing and going non-stop and start bringing a little more “being” into your day to day.
I hope you can find an opportunity to unplug this summer and get away… if not, take a few breaths, meditate for a few minutes (give it a shot!) and after some meditation… put on some music like the Eagles and take it easy.
Wishing you all moments of peace this week and always.
I’d love to hear from you!
Abby Norman, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Shift+360 Certified, RYT 200
Leadership and Transition Coach