You’ve heard of all the benefits of meditation. You’d love to be more peaceful, relaxed and present. Maybe you’ve even tried to meditate and you’ve lasted for a day or two… So have I. Meditation is a practice of focusing on a single thing in order to release everything else and quiet your mind. Sitting meditation seems like the easiest way to do this – all you need is a place to sit and your breath. But for many of us it’s not as easy as it sounds and it’s certainly not the only way to meditate. Any other activity that helps you focus on one thing can become meditative practice.
Often focus on the breath can be achieved much easier when breath is accompanied by rhythmic movements. In most forms of exercise, focus on the breath also promotes good technique so it’s a win-win. You get a clear mind and you get your workout done at the same time. Jogging and swimming are prefect examples of activities with repetitive movement where focus on the breath is essential for good technique.
Knitting and crochet
If you’re crafty, you’re probably already familiar with the relaxing effects of knitting and crochet. Now you can take it one step further and turn it into a meditative practice by fully focusing on what you’re doing. Pick yarn that’s comforting in colour and texture. Chose a simple project so that you don’t have to check the pattern constantly, but one where you still need to count and concentrate. Then let your craft project emerge while you’re giving your mind a break from any thoughts and concerns.
Connecting with nature
Go for a walk or stay still admiring the view while giving your full attention to the sounds, colours and smells around you. Notice the shapes of the leaves on a tree and the way they move from the wind. Observe a wave braking at the shore, then slowly drawing back in. Or simply turn your gaze upwards and watch the clouds.
When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, it’s more important how you do things than what it is that you’re actually doing. Try one of these alternatives to meditation or create your own. The key is to stay focused and in the present moment as much as possible. And remember, you don’t have to do it perfectly to reap the benefits.
Image by Lynn Greyling via PublicDomainPictures.net
By Tatiana Apostolova