Join me in sitting quietly in meditation for 15 minutes. Please choose a time that works best for you each day when it will be quiet in your home, perhaps early in the morning or before going to bed at night.
Meditation – become a witness of your thoughts
This technique may be practiced with a mantra or without. In the beginning you may find it easier to start with a mantra. The idea is that you are a witness to your thoughts, like a neutral observer, not getting caught up in the stories behind the thoughts. Over time, the more this is practiced, the more you will be able to detach from the many distractions that the mind serves up.
If you are a visual learner you may identify with the ‘witness’ concept through a visualization. Imagine that you are looking up at a blue sky on a sunny day and there are a few clouds in the sky. Let’s say the clouds represent your thoughts. Imagine you are watching those clouds float through the sky as they pass by your field of vision, yet you are not focusing on any one particular cloud, you’re simply watching them pass by. The clouds will keep coming but you are still able to enjoy the beautiful blue sky.
For mantra, you may use ‘So-hum’, inhaling for ‘So’ and exhaling for ‘hum’. As you silently repeat ‘So-hum’ to yourself during the meditation, naturally your mind will serve up other thoughts, when this happens there is no need to try to push those thoughts away, instead begin to act as a witness and observe the thought by noticing it, then return to the mantra. It doesn’t matter how many times your mind distracts you from your mantra. Over time as your focus develops and you deepen your practice, you may begin to realize that you are much more than the workings of your mind.
Preparation: Please find yourself in a comfortable seated position. If you’re sitting in a chair ensure that your feet are firmly placed on the floor. If you’re sitting on the floor cross legged, or on your yoga mat, notice the position of your knees to the floor. If they are raised up away from the floor you may want to place a cushion below your sit bones (your bottom) as this will help to place your pelvis in a neutral position and allow your knees to come closer to the floor.
As an alternative, if sitting is not possible then you may practice lying down on your back with your legs slightly apart, your arms are apart from your torso with your palms facing up.
Meditation and relaxation:
- Observe the weight of your body on the mat or floor. Allow your lower body to feel grounded and connected.
- Keeping your lower body grounded, reach the crown of your head up towards the ceiling, slightly lift your chin, lengthen your spine and gently draw your shoulders back to open your chest.
- Scan your body from head to toe asking to your entire body to relax.
- Relax your forehead, your cheeks, your jaw.
- As you inhale roll your shoulders up towards your ears then exhale to release your breath and your shoulders down your back, keeping a slight opening in your chest.
- Inhale and feel your chest, rib cage and lower belly expand as you fill your body with your breath.
- Pause, then exhale slowly and allow your belly to relax.
- Inhale, pause, exhale.
- Inhale, pause, exhale.
- Soften your entire body.
- Release your tongue from your palette, allow your tongue to relax in your mouth.
- As you inhale, silently repeat ‘So’, exhale with ‘hum’. Repeat ‘So-hum’, ‘So-hum’, ‘So-hum’.
- As you get distracted, just observe those moments of distraction then return to your mantra, or your breath. I’ll let you know when your time is up!
- Taking a deep breath in expanding your belly, rib cage and chest and with a big smile, pause for a second.
- Then exhale.
- Congratulations! You’ve just completed 15 minutes of meditation. Be proud of yourself and come back tomorrow to enjoy it all over again.