Informal meditation practices
Do you struggle to seat still and meditate everyday? Well, you are not alone! I love it when I get around to it and I always feel better afterwards but I put it off and do other stuff… until I only have a short time to do it.
As I study more formal meditation practices, I discover there is no magic knowledge that can help me with the discipline that it requires. I just have to seat down and do it!
What I pleasantly realized is that mindful practices are informal meditation practices that can help you develop that strength and discipline that we need for the formal practices. But best of all, you are meditating when using these practices!
This is one of my favorite mindful practices. It changes how you go about your day and how you feel! Closer to peace and bliss.
Choose an a chore or activity that you do every day and do it in a mindful way! what do I mean by this? paying attention to what you are presently doing and lovingly dedicate yourself to it.
Say I choose to wash the dishes. Notice the running running water. The warm running water that is safe to drink. Watch how dirty dishes that held beautiful food become clean and sparkling. Feel joy to see all dishes clean and appreciation for your hands that made it possible washing the dishes. As a side note, Water facts states that 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water.
Just doing one thing at a time
Yes, it sounds easy but is not… Do you listen to music while your work? Do you watch tv while knitting? we think we multitask all the time. However, what actually do is just devote a small fraction of time to each activity. In the end, it takes longer and some times you do not finish anything.
I was so overwhelmed by work that I started to do on thing at a time a few months back. A team mate noticed, you are getting a lot of stuff done! what is the trick? I told him… he didn’t believe me but a week later, he reported. You are right, you get more done and I feel better. If you are a list writer, you will get a kick of scratching stuff off your list.
Try just listening to music… and you will see what I mean. I even hear notes that I never heard before.
Not only you get more done, you also enjoy more what you are doing.
Mindful yoga practice
You might be doing this already. Focus on your breath, while you are in each pose. For example, choose equal ratio breathing. Making the inhale the same as the exhale keeps your mind attention on the breath. It is not easy…
You can try practicing gathas as well. I started to use them in my restorative yoga practice and classes. By just mentally repeating these phrases in your mind, you stay more present in the moment.
Here is one of the gathas from Thich Nhah Hanh that I learned in the course:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
3 minute breathing space
This short mindful practice helps you to check how you are feeling, connect with your breath, and create space. The beauty of all is that only takes 3 minute. Find a quiet space and listen to the guidance from this recording:
You can use this mindful practice any time of the times and as many times you need!
I heard someone recently tell a story about some one that had no time for meditation and her guru said to her: If you have time to go to the washroom, you have time to meditate! You have to admit it is a quiet place and no one will interrupt you.
Holding noble silence
During our mindful meditation course at yogaspace, we kept noble silence for a weekend! We practiced meditation, listened to dharma readings, and ate in silence. When we were out of the studio, we only spoke when needed and stayed away from chatting on the phone of computer.
It was unbelievably soothing and a great place to explore, to discover, and to listen to yourself! Above all, I found a new sense of peace in my mind.
Choose a period of time and just try to unplug from everything and everyone. It can be minutes, hours, or days. Try it and report!
How to do it? Seat at the table or choose a quiet and comfortable place. Appreciate the food and its appearance as you serve it.
Keeping silence while you eat and paying attention to each bite, smelling it, savoring it, and chewing it conscientiously. These are also ayurvedic guidelines for eating. I bet you are not surprised.
The physical benefits are easy to imagine. Digesting better, assimilating more, eating less, and feeling satisfied with less.
Being grateful for the food that you are eating, the people that prepared it, and the live that surrendered to provide you nourishment, it simply brings eating to another level. More satisfying and more nourishing not just for the body but also for the mind and soul.