Meditation is not all in your mind. In fact, it begins and ends in the body.
When we think about meditating, we often get distracted by our own thoughts. So in this post, we are going to do something about what’s happening in our heads.
Meditation involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body. That very act can be calming, since our body has internal rhythms that help it relax—if we give it a chance.
Here’s a posture practice that can be used to begin a longer meditation practice, or perhaps a practice to help stabilize and relax before carrying on with the rest of your day.
TIME: 3 to 5 minutes
1. Take your seat. Whatever you’re sitting on—a chair, meditation cushion, or park bench—find a spot that gives you a stable, solid seat, not perching or hanging back.
2. If on a cushion or on the floor, cross your legs comfortably in front of you (If you already do some kind of seated yoga posture, go ahead). If on a chair, make sure the bottoms of your feet are touching the floor.
3. Straighten—but don’t stiffen—your upper body. The spine has a natural curvature. Let it be there. Your head and shoulders can comfortably rest on top of your vertebrae.
4. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Then let your hands drop onto the tops of your legs. With your upper arms at your sides, your hands will land in the right spot. Too far forward will make you hunch. Too far back will make you stiff. You’re tuning the strings of your body—not too tight and not too loose.
5. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. You may let your eyelids lower. If you feel the need, you may lower them completely, but it’s not necessary to close your eyes when meditating. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it.
6. Stay there for a few moments. Relax. Now get up and go about your day.
- Barry Boyce, Mindful Magazine Editor-in-Chief
Mindful will return in August with their third guest post. In the meantime, visit mindful.org for feature articles or to subscribe to the magazine in print or digital format.