Lightweight Mindfulness to leave you Heavily Meditated
At this stage, most of us know that mindfulness or any form of meditation/progressive relaxation boosts our health and wellbeing but how many of us practice it habitually?
Evidence for its far-reaching positive health effects and for how it literally reshapes our brains is mounting and mounting: a meta-analysis, i.e. a mammoth study that systematically integrates pertinent data from several selected studies to develop a conclusion with far greater statistical power, entitled ‘The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies’ published in the 2015 (Biomed Res Int Journal) concluded that “meditation practice induces functional and structural brain modifications, especially in areas involved in self-referential processes, including self-awareness and self-regulation, as well as in areas involved in attention, executive functions, and memory formations”.
We all should really opt-in to regular practice given its cost- and side-effect free health perks. Here are 4 ideas which require a mere minute or two to get the ball rolling for those who seek an easy introduction without any preamble or classes or lengthy body scans or phone app use!
Remove your shoes and socks and stand barefoot on the ground – preferably somewhere with grass but anywhere will do – and scrunch your feet into it. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and immerse yourself in all of the sounds and sensations that embrace you for a minute.
2. Single Nostril Breathing
Close your eyes. Then left press on your left nostril with your left ring or little finger. Inhale and exhale through your right nostril for 5 breaths then switch sides.
3. Abdominal breathing
Inhale slowly and deeply and imagine and your abdomen filling like a balloon. Count from 1 through 5 as you inhale and exhale while placing both of your hands on your abdomen and notice its movement, i.e. its expansion as you inhale.
Inhale slowly and deeply (again!) and scan your body from top to toe to detect any tense foci. Then direct your breath into these areas as you exhale. Visualise blowing away the tension as if you’re blowing a dandelion flower. Repeat if you have the time and inclination!
Have a great and mindful Monday evening!7