Whether you live in a city like Washington, DC or not, most of us live in a chaotic world. Remember “back in the day” when technology was touted as a way to make life easier? In some ways it has offered many conveniences (my favorite is I can deposit checks via my phone). The drawback is people are ON 24/7 which means their minds are never OFF.
When the mind never rests, the body never completely rests which leads to a host of health issues. Up to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments/complaints. This isn’t a new stat but it has become the new reality for many. This is why, going back to my tweet, that taking .03% of your day to simply sit, close your eyes and breath can literally be a life safer. Not only will your mind and body reap benefits, the health of your relationships (personal & professional) will improve and indirectly you will be helping improve the lives of others.
If you still can’t figure out how to carve out .03% of time in your day (5 minutes!) to be with your breath, consider these tips from Thich Nhat Hanh which are found in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness:
“Our breath is such a fragile piece of thread. But once we know how to use it, it can become a wondrous tool to help us surmount situations which would otherwise seem hopeless. Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind, the element which reconciles our body and mind…
Many persons & books discuss the immense benefits that result from correct breathing. They report that a person who knows how to breathe is a person who knows how to build up endless vitality: breath builds the lungs, strengthens the blood, and revitalizes every organ in the body. They say that proper breathing is more important than food…
As best as you can (my words) “You’ve got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, sipping tea, talking to friends or whatever you are doing. While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea. But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you’re drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. When you’re using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life.”
The point is you don’t have to have a formal seated meditation practice. Just start by figuring out ways to be mindful throughout your day. Bring awareness to your breathing while you are folding laundry, driving to work, standing in line for your morning coffee. Just breathe and become fully absorbed in each moment as it unfolds.
It’s like sprinkling your day with a few mini meditation sessions vs. finding 20-30 minutes to sit on your meditation cushion. Whatever you’re doing, the simple act of bringing awareness to your breath could literally save your life. Make everything an act of meditation then when you finally sit it will come more easily.
Melody of abellaYoga has been gratefully teaching office yoga, private yoga and meditation full-time in Washington, DC, Alexandria and Arlington, VA since 2006. Thankful for experiences gained in the telecom/tech corporate world, this ex-marketing, yoga-chick is happy to share all she knows about yoga. Find her blogging here, scrolling facebook.com/abellaYoga page or on twitter.com/abellaYoga -follow @abellaYoga