Maximise your wellbeing with author Sarah Rudell Beach’s daily mindful mediations
I’m often asked how we should breathe in meditation and the simple answer is let your breath be natural. Breathe in the way that is most comfortable for you. Read the meditation a few times and then close your eyes and practice. You could also have someone read them to you, or you could dictate them into your phone and follow the recording. The more you practice meditation, the more you will notice an improvement in your ability to be mindful throughout the day. The mantras can be used in a variety of ways. You can silently repeat them in your head during formal practice, or just use them whenever you need them. Once you discover the mantras that most resonate with you, perhaps write them down on a post-it, or on your favourite stationery, and fix them where you will see them regularly (on a mirror, refrigerator, etc.). You can use these exercises on the go’ as you need them, or you can make them part of a formal mindfulness time each day. Try to spend five or 10 minutes every day
Don’t worry if your mind wanders away from the present moment. This only means you’re becoming more aware of the activity of your brain
Meditation doesn’t need to be mysterious, complicated, or time-consuming. Set a timer for five minutes and allow your eyes to close. Now count your breaths. Begin counting one on the inhale, then two on the exhale, and so on, until you reach 10 and then start at the beginning again. If your mind wanders away from counting your breath (which it will most likely do), just restart. You may start over 73 times in five minutes, and that’s okay. Just continue focusing on your breath until the timer goes off, and then see how you feel when you’re done with the breathwork.
If you can, wake up earlier than normal. Sit upright on a cushion, couch or your bed and set a timer for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. If you live with other people, notice what it feels like to be awake when everyone else is sleeping. What sounds do you hear? Does the house feel different? Morning meditations can sometimes be easier because the day has yet to intrude on your experience and your busy, chattering mind may still be a bit sleepy. Experiment with early morning practice and what it feels like for you. As you begin your day, set an intention. Your intention is not your to-do list, it’s your guidance for how you want to be in the world today. How do you want to feel? How do you want to show up today?
Reflect on the day
We all have rough days when we yell, when we lose it and when we’re not able to stay present. When you have one of those days, take a deep breath. Place your hand on your heart and remind yourself that you did the best you could with the resources (time, energy, sanity) that you had today. On the in-breath, send yourself some compassion. On the out-breath, remember that tomorrow is a chance to begin again. Tomorrow, you will do better. Spend a few moments tonight preparing yourself mentally for the next day. What will be needed of you? What do you need? Will you be facing a difficult situation that demands some extra self-compassion? You can also try sunset meditation for one week by watching the sun set each night. What is different about each sunset, and what’s the same? What’s different about you each night and what hasn’t changed? Allow the sunset to be a time to greet the end of the day and transition into rest.
Extracted from And Breathe: Daily meditations and mantras for greater calm balance and joy by Sarah Rudell Beach (£7.99 CICO Books)
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