Sitting on a yoga mat in complete silence meditating isn’t for everyone. Especially if, like me, you suffer from constant busy brain, it’s not so much mindful meditation as it is going through the rolodex of everything you need to do in your mind. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to practise mindfulness that DON’T involve sitting in silence, so I thought I’d share my five favourite ways to practise mindfulness.
This is quite a concentrated activity I often do if I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious or panicky. It sounds simple but it can take some getting your head around, a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach simultaneously. You start with both feet firmly planted on the ground, and take a deep, lung filling breath in and out. Then breathing in you peel one foot slowly off the floor, and place it slowly back down as you breath out, then repeat with the next foot. You can’t lift the other foot until that foot is back on the floor, and to start with you’ll find your second foot peeling up before you’ve finished your out breath. It’s very slow, and I’ll do this to pace a room for a minute or two, it clears my mind, balances my breath and takes me out of that ‘fight or flight response. It’s a really grounding practice, and something you really can do anywhere, any time.
3 x 5 Senses.
This is a trick my psychologist taught me for being more present in the moment, and it also proves helpful in really capturing moments in your mind. Essentially you just stop wherever you are and try and notice three things for each of your senses, three things you can feel, three things you can see, three things you can hear, three things you can taste and three things you can smell.
I do this when I really want to remember a moment, one of my clearest memories using this was in Camp Cove in Sydney, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and when I close my eyes I can recall those memories as if I’m there.
I do this as well if I feel like I’m going through the motions without paying attention to my actions, or if I’m ‘spiralling’ with anxious thoughts, it helps pull you back to reality.
When was the last time you did just one task, without anything else going on in the background? Even now I’m writing this post, sipping a cup of tea, singing along to Spotify, and uploading photos to Dropbox. I find single tasking most effective when I’m doing something like cooking dinner or washing up. It really is just doing that one task and really focusing on it, what do the bubbles feel like on your hands, how does the food you’re cooking on smell? Completing one task on its own with no distractions with more presence.
The only form of lying on a yoga mat meditating I CAN do, although I’ll often do these in bed, as a passenger in a car, at my desk, really anywhere you can grab 20 minutes peace. A yoga nidra is a deep relaxation guided meditation, and I really love the body scan ones. I have a CD with a recording I love but there are plenty out there on YouTube.
There you have it 4 easy mindfulness exercises to help you feel more present, grounded and calm!
I’d love to know how you practice mindfulness!