Monday, November 17, 2008

Meditation - 15 Minutes A Day

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(Photos Courtesy of Jupiter Images)
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Ten years ago I began to meditate for just 15 minutes each day, and it changed my life.
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The following is an article I found on Yoga Journal (a wonderful online source). Below is a how-to meditation that you can be done while lying down. I vary lying down with sitting -- since I am not prone to falling asleep in the day, but if you are, you might want to stick to sitting while meditating.
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Sometimes you need to wake up, and sometimes you need to calm down. Often you need a combination of awakening, calming, and focusing energies. But to understand your needs, it's essential to spend some time discovering what state your energy is in.
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How Do You Feel?
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Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended. Fill your body with awareness, as if you were filling a glass with water. Notice how your body responds. Does it begin to release and relax, or is there resistance? Close your eyes and feel the weight of your skull and pelvis, the contact of your back on the floor. Are there places that pull away from the floor and areas that are more in contact?
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Then mentally scan your body one area at a time. Begin with your toes and travel up to your legs, pelvis, spine, lower and upper back, and shoulders, then down your arms and hands, and back up your arms to your neck and head. Are there areas of discomfort, places that feel stiff or more spacious, or parts that feel warm, cold, or numb? Some areas of holding are so habitual that we skip over them without noticing; let your attention gently tap into those places. As you scan your body, see whether a running commentary is going on in your head. Try not to judge or analyze what you discover. Instead, simply notice what is present. Now bring your focus to the central column of your spine. Imagine a wide river from the base of your spine to the base of your skull. Does the river flow freely? Are there areas where it's blocked, narrowed, or stagnated?
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Next, bring your awareness to your entire body at once. Notice if there are any strong sensations remaining, areas of the body calling for attention. Now allow your mind to draw into the breath. Notice the quality, texture, and rhythm of your breathing. Is it short and choppy, long and smooth, or somewhere in between? Do you tend to hold your breath after breathing in or out? Notice the relationship between your breath, body, and thoughts.
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Now check out the flow of thoughts moving through your mind. Do you have a perpetual to-do list? Are you rehashing some conversation or planning the future? Are you spacing out, or do you feel sharp and clear? Try not to make judgments—simply observe. As certain thoughts come, is there a physical response in your body or your breath?
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Next, place one hand on your heart. Take a moment to feel the beating of your physical heart, your chest rising and falling with your breath. Let your awareness settle into its rhythm, then drop your attention in a little deeper, sensing the emotional heart. Is there sadness, joy, or anxiety? Don't go deeply into any one feeling; just get a sense of the overall tone that is present at this moment. Make note of the relationship between your emotional state and your breath, between your feelings and your physical body.
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Finally, feel all of these dimensions at once: physical, energetic, mental, and emotional. Notice the part of you that is observing—your unchanging awareness. Now rest in this spacious awareness.
Remember, your observations may change from day to day, depending on the hour, your schedule, and all of the other variables that affect your energy and mood. If you observed that your breathing was labored, your mind dull, and your heart heavy, try an energizing practice. Was your breathing rapid, your mind racing, and your body tense? Then a calming practice might be most appropriate. Feeling scattered and disoriented? A focusing practice can help you come into balance. Listen to your mind, body, and heart for guidance about a movement practice that can bring you into balance, ready to sit and draw your attention inward.
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Author: Janice Gates - Courtesy of Yoga Journal
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P.S.
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Top 10 Things to do at YogaJournal.com
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10 comments:

Linda Lou said...

Back in the very old days I used to meditate twice a day!! Thanks for reminding me of the wonderful benefits...Now that the holidays are upon I may need to get back into it so I don't stress out too much!

the sweet life with olives said...

thank you for sharing. i know if i tried i would benefit from some meditation, and 15 min seems 'do-able' even for a crazy mom like me!

Kira said...

I used to meditate when I was in middle school. Don't know why I stopped - guess life got in the way and I replaced meditation with naps. I did Jewish meditation -- I learned it on a day retreat my temple took, from a family friend who is a rabbi. It was only supposed to be a short session, but all of us in that class were young and we loved it and ebded up making it a whole day thing -- we even meditated on the pier at the lake. We danced and sang outside. It was fantastic. She told us that if you wake up before 6:30 in the morning, you will be more awake throughout the day.

great entry! thanks for sharing it!!
:)

Margie said...

Thanks Sabina, a wonderful posting, I am giving you an award as you inspire me and I would like to show my appreciation. Please check out Margie's Crafts. hugs Margie.

Sandra Evertson said...

Lovely photos!
Sandra

Krissy said...

I need to find an extra 15 min a day :)

corine said...

I must learn how to do that.

Sabina said...

Thank you Margie for the wonderul "shout out"!! I do appreciate it so very much!!

linnea said...

Thanks for sharing the great post! I'm like you - when I lie down, I fall asleep! Hope your week is going great! Your blog is beautiful!
xox,
Linnea

Julia said...

Great post. I introduced yoga into my life only a year ago and I totally love it. I want to start meditating as I'm POSITIVE it'll make a huge impact on my life!

Love the P.S. in your post too. :)

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