Learning to sit still…..maybe... and breath.
Finding a comfortable place to be still can be VERY difficult! This is a process, so, I have broken it down into short daily practices. You can do it all at once, or, you can try each step on a different day. My hope is that within a week you might find a space that works for you.
The journey to finding our breath can be a life long experience. Full of change and nuance. I am going to talk about the process of learning to sit, stand, or lay with your breath. Finding a comfortable position in our body is the first step to finding that quiet place in our mind. It is my hope is that you can find a position that feels right to you. If the mind is slow to follow, have no fear! Time is on your side!
We all reside in different bodies. All of us find a different asana (pose) comfortable. Experiment! Try standing, lying, or sitting on the floor, in a chair or with a blanket. Look for that position where you don't have to fight yourself to be there. Remember the body will come first, the mind is sometime a little hesitant to follow. Just focus on your body for today!
Were you able to find a position of quiet in your body? Did you find that your body felt relaxed, but your mind was still buzzing with all the bits of life?
This is the challenge for most of us! We can settle our body, but life, all of our business pulls us away in our mind. For me it usually goes something like this:
Inhale: Did I remember everything for the taxes?
Exhale: What am I going to fix for dinner?
Inhale: " MOM".... Was that my name I heard?
Exhale: I don't have time for this....
IT'S OK! If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The good news is, it gets easier! Just be patient and kind with yourself. Let go of the "goal" and enjoy the process.
Find your comfortable space. Settle into your body. Breathe in. Notice where your mind goes. Breathe out. Don't try to control, force, or change a thing. Just watch the show. Sit for 5 breaths like this. For today, be an audience to your mind, use the rhythm of your breath as the sound track.
Yesterday you watched the movie play out in your mind. Hopefully it was a good show! If that was a challenge, don't stress, maybe watch again today. See if it is a new story.
If everything went well, or you just want to try something different, today, lets see if we can step outside of our inner monologue.
This is a method that has always worked well for me. Finding a very simple mantra to help and "control" the jumping about of the mind.
Find your comfortable space. Settle into your body. On your inhalation, think, inhale. Let the thought, the word, last the full breath. (Maybe you say it in your mind more than once.) On your exhalation, think exhale. Try this for 6 breaths. For some people, counting breath works. Other people prefer to set a timer. If a timer sounds nice to you, try breathing for 1 minute.
We all have something: kids, grandkids, spouses,siblings, pets, friends. All of the blessings that bring indescribable joy to our lives, can also add very describable stress. ( I'm going to steer away from describing that stress today...)
What I would like to touch on is how to breathe amidst the joys and stresses that being a non-hermit human can bring. How do we separate enough, even for a few minutes, to find that "quiet" breath space.
For today, let's not separate.
Try finding your breath amidst your life. Whatever that looks like. Instead of stealing away, try to get comfortable wherever you are. (At the kitchen table, at your desk, folding laundry, helping with homework.) Look for that one minute opportunity to close your eyes.
Breath in your life. The noises, the smells, the strangeness that makes your life yours. Invite those around you to join! Maybe they smile, or giggle, or just roll their eyes. ( I would get that, "really", eye roll from a few I love.) Let them join, or no, but breath it all in. All it's craziness. Let it guide you for a few moments.
Breath in the good.
Breath out the good.
Breath in the love.
Breath out the love.
Breath in the joy.
Breath out the joy.
For a moment. Let all else fade away.
When you need a break. When life starts pushing in from all sides. Just close your eyes. Forget all the other stuff. Just breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. Feel each breath. Just that. Each breath.
Nothing more. Nothing less.