Meditation is not about sitting for hours. Healthista brings you eight mini-meditations from the world’s best teachers for fast clarity anywhere, anytime
BASIC BREATH COUNT From Peg Baim, clinical director of Center for Training Benson Henry Institute of Mind/Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School When Anytime you have a minute, or after a crisis or emergency How Sit down somewhere quiet, this could be the loo cubicle, an empty office or your car (not while driving!). You can be sitting on a chair or on the floor in a cross-legged position. Begin to breathe gently into your diaphragm. Count very slowly to yourself from ten down to zero, one number for each breath. When you get to zero, see how you’re feeling. If you’re not feeling better, start again from ten
MINDFUL WASHING UP From Dr Shanida Nataraja, neuroscientist and author of The Blissful Brain (Octopus £7.99) When During any menial task, to increase your calm and anchor you into the present moment. How Draw your attention to the task at hand: the sight of the dishes in the soapy water, the smell of the washing up liquid, the sound of your hands splashing in the water. Now take every dish and carefully wash it. If your attention begins to wander, use your breathing to bring it back to the present moment. Breathe in, breathe out and then bring your attention back to the soapy dishes.
COME TO YOUR SENSES From Michael Miller, London Meditation Centre When On the bus, train or Tube How Wherever you are, do the following for around 20 seconds each: Start by noticing the noises around you. Then look around you at the sights, this could be out the window, straight ahead or overhead at the details or the bus or train interior (try not to stare at fellow passengers!). Begin to notice any aroma in the air, is there freshness or humidity in the air? Is someone eating strong food? Now move on to the tastes in your mouth. Finally think about your sense of touch and subtley feel your skin and the textures of your clothes. All the while breathe evenly and gently, the entire practice shouldn’t take longer than about two minutes
WALKING MEDITATION From Lucia Cockcroft editor yoga-abode.com and meditation teacher When Anytime, outside or inside How Start walking in a straight line for about six paces and then turn and walk back for another six paces (if you’re out and about you can be walking to a destination but pacing is better). Walk as slowly as possible and look ahead, eyes open. Try and breathe evenly without any control of the breath and place your ankle down first. Observe the feeling of your foot on the floor, grass or pavement. Now begin to look around you, notice your surroundings, any birds or flowers, passing cars. If your mind wanders , gently bring it back to the sensations you’re feeling as you’re walking. Do this for anywhere between two and 30 minutes.
THE ONE MINUTE WONDER From Martin Boroson, author The One-Moment Master: Stillness for people on the go (£6.99 Random House) onemomentmaster.com
When First thing in the morning or anytime you have a minute and access to a timer How Sit down somewhere quiet. If you’ve just woken up sit up in bed and place your legs in a relaxed but fixed position, feet on the floor. Set your alarm for exactly one minute
Place your hands in a relaxed but fixed position, perhaps in your lap or on your knees
Close your eyes, allow your mind to settle into your breathing. When the alarm sounds stop and carry on with your day.
MINDFUL EATING From Chrissie Webber, founder of lifeshapers.org program and author Weight Loss, Life Gain (Arrow £9.99) who herself lost five stone through her program. When Anytime during meals. Mindfully connecting to the textures of food while eating has been associated with increased weight loss How At the start of a meal, or when you’re already eating take three long, slow breaths bringing your mind in tune with our body. Concentrate on how your body is feeling physically and how hungry you really are on a scale of one to ten (one being full). Now eat each mouthful slowly, concentrating on the experience of eating, the taste and the sensations in your tummy and how full you’re getting. Put your fork down between bites. When you have had enough, stop eating. This is best done when you’re eating alone, but if you’re with other people, take the odd break from the conversation (no one will notice) to do the above.
TEN MINUTES TO BETTER From Heather Bestel, meditation teacher and founder alittlebitofmetime.com When Anytime you have access to a CD player or iPod How For anyone who just has to have a voice telling them exactly what to do to relax, the best CD we’ve found is Just Ten Minutes by meditation teacher Heather Bestel, no bells, no chants, just relaxation – fast. £10 from alittlebitofmetime.com