I was never very good at meditating. As much as I tried, I simply couldn't shift my mind from day dreams, niggling thoughts and those never-ending to-do lists. I craved stillness, I hoped for peace and I desperately wanted clarity, calm and a mental break. I would set my alarm for 20 minutes and close my eyes, wishing that, this time, I could meditate like it was the most natural thing in the world.
And it never happened.
My meditation time quickly turned into this-will-never-work-so-I-might-as-well-keep-thinking time. I realized that I needed to shake up my meditation practice to align with who I was -- often time poor, stressed and over-thinking. I've always had a short attention span and I just wasn't ready for those twenty minute meditations.
Now, I usually take 2-5 minutes a few times a day to practice and, usually, that's enough for me.
I thought I would share five of my favorite meditations, which are easy to implement within a shorter time frame. You might like to keep a list of them (and any other meditations you love) and simply choose one whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
1. Spinal Pearls
I learned this beautiful meditation from a yoga teacher and it quickly became one of my favorites! The visual aspect of this meditation keeps my mind slightly engaged, while allowing the stillness and calmness of it to spread throughout my body.
How to practice: Close you eyes and imagine that your spine is a string of pearls. As you breathe in, imagine your breath moving up the string of pearls. As you breathe out, imagine your breath moving down the string of pearls.
I use this meditation in one of my workshops because it is such a simple way to bring your attention to the moment by using the power of words.
How to practice: Write a list of your favorite emotions or words. A few on my list include clarity, purpose, creativity, love and positivity. Begin the meditation by reading the first word and taking two deep breaths. As you take these breaths, imagine the word filling you up, as though the meaning of the word is radiating from your entire being. Move through your list of words, taking two deep breaths for each one.
3. Intention and Purpose
I like to practice this meditation at the start of the day. After I hit the snooze button, I know I have a few minutes to discover why this day will be special and meaningful by setting an intention and uncovering my purpose.
How to practice: Choose an intention for your day, whether you're hoping to feel a certain way (creative, positive, authentic, etc.) or there's something important you would like to do. Once you have your intention, hold the idea of it in your mind and allow yourself to explore your purpose behind it. Would you like to feel positive because it's the start of the working week and you know you will feel happier if you smile more and connect with others? Maybe your intention is to write a chapter of your next book because you hope to become a bestselling author one day, or you would like to share your knowledge with the world. This meditation always helps me to get out of bed with a little spring in my step!
4. A Self-Hug
I love hugs and with this meditation, I've got one at the ready all the time, no matter where I am. If I'm having a rough day or I'm feeling proud or nervous or lonely, a self-hug always makes me feel like I've got my own back (quite literally, as well as metaphorically).
How to practice: Wrap your arms around your chest or belly, wherever feels most comfortable. Give yourself a gentle squeeze and feel free to swing from side to side, if that feels good! I like to close my eyes and take a moment to enjoy the feelings of safety and content. Take a few breaths, give yourself a little pat on the back and gently release your arms when you're ready.
There are many ways to practice gratitude and I love to engage in them often. I keep a gratitude journal, where I write down three highlights of my day and say a little thank you for each one. I also keep a gratitude jar, which I fill with notes of my favorite memories, so I can open it up and read over some of the times in my life which I'm especially grateful for. The gratitude meditation I'm about to describe is even easier to implement than those practices!
How to practice: Place you hands over your heart, bow your head slightly and take a few slow, long breaths. You can choose what you would like to feel grateful for in that moment, whether you would like to feel grateful for the people you love, the roof over your head, the holiday you're looking forward to or the good sleep you had the night before. If you're having a difficult time, maybe you would simply like to feel grateful for the beating heart beneath your hands.
Rachael Kable is a wellness coach, workshop leader and blogger at www.rachaelkable.com and the host of The Mindful Kind podcast. You can check out her e-book, Your Seven Day Positivity Guide and receive a free copy by subscribing here!
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