Every day someone tells me how great they feel when they practice yoga. They feel whole and complete and relaxed and alert -- all at the same time. Yet no sooner than they leave the yoga studio does the old stress and worry start to seep back into their life, so quickly at times that it makes them wonder just how long the healthy benefits of a great yoga workout stay with them.
When I mention extending those great feelings through meditation, I am inevitably told, "I love the idea, but I just don't have enough time to meditate." Or, "There's just no way I can sit and think for 20 minutes. There's just too much going on in my head."
Well guess what, you actually do. You don't have to sit for 20 minutes or half an hour to benefit from a meditation practice. You only need a few minutes here and there to reduce your stress, minimize the noise from the world around you, and gain control of your life, so you can start to live your life as if you carry your yoga mat with you.
Look at it this way. You have 1,440 minutes in every one of your days. If you take just 10 of those at different times during your day, you can improve your health, wealth and well-being, and nobody will even know how.
Yes, sitting for 20 or 30 minutes a day is a great practice. It's a wonderful goal to have, but it's just not practical for everyone, especially for today's busy executive. Still, that's no reason not to incorporate the value and benefits of deep breathing and meditation into your life.
Think of this practice as a way to bring balance throughout your day. It can also make you more productive and better able to make the kinds of choices you need to make in order to guide your life in the direction you want it to go.
So set the alarm on your iPhone or Blackberry and cut out a few minutes in the morning to start your day right, in the middle of the day to reset your energy, and in the evening to enjoy some deep sleep. It takes just 10 minutes throughout your entire day, and I know you have 10 minutes to start living the life you've dreamed of.
Morning (5 minutes)
Before you get out of bed in the morning, take just five minutes to notice your breathing. Put one hand on your stomach and take a few deep belly breaths. Smile as you feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath. Don't just jump into your day; give yourself the five minutes you deserve to balance your morning, steady your thoughts and guide your day in the right direction.
Commute (Not included in the 10 minutes, since you're doing this anyway.)
When you leave for work, maintain a slow and steady breath. Take the time to notice the world around you. Appreciate the sunlight, the clouds, and the rain. Notice the road, the cars, and the pavement of your commute. As your mind starts to fill with the tasks of your day, focus on the mode of your commute, the people walking next to you, the cars driving, the subway you ride on. Don't start an inner dialogue by commenting on them. Just be present and aware of the community of people that you are a part of and enjoy that connection.
Afternoon (2 minutes)
When your wits are at their end take a moment to sit by yourself. Place your feet flat on the floor with your hands on your thighs. Take a deep belly breath in, and feel your skin expand against your clothing. Slowly count to eight on each inhale and each exhale. Feel the calm start beneath you scalp and move down to your shoulders. Identify each point of stress and take a moment to allow your inhale to wrap around it, relax it, and take that stress away as you exhale. Use your three minutes to breathe in positive, relaxing energy, and breathe out negative stress.
S-L-E-E-P Meditation (3 minutes)
If the thoughts running through your mind are preventing you from sleeping, take a slow, deep breath in and spell the word sleep as you meditate on each letter. Say "S" as you exhale slowly, say the letter "L" as you inhale. Focus on each letter as you spell the word sleep. When you get to the end of the word, start your spelling meditation over again. You may be surprised when you wake up in the morning at how deeply you slept.
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