Basking in Meditation

Published July 2013 in The Culture-ist.

Developing a simple and quick meditation practice can have powerful benefits on the mind, body, and soul. Often however, the biggest deterrent to practicing meditation is the belief that a large amount of time must be dedicated to the discipline. There is simply not enough time to devote to a meditation practice when the to-do list is never ending. Yet on the contrary, not much time is needed at all. There are many ways to incorporate meditation into your day without carving out an hour to sit in silence.

One of the best ways to meditate is to go outside and immerse yourself in nature. This can be anything from a walk on the beach to a hike through the woods, to simply sitting down in a park.

Make a commitment to do something beneficial for yourself by taking the time to appreciate the outdoors. Follow this short meditation below to reconnect with your inner light and cultivate gratitude for all the natural wonders around you.

MEDITATION IN A MOMENT

In a comfortable seated position, either legs crossed in Sukhasana (easy pose) or sitting on top of the feet with legs folded beneath you in Vidrasana (diamond pose), place the hands on the lap, palms face down if you would like to feel more grounded, or face up if you would like more energy. Close the eyes.

Begin to bring your awareness to your breath. Imagine a root extending from the bottom of your spine deep down into the earth beneath you. Now imagine your spine extending long up through the crown of the head into the sky. You are at once innately connected to earth yet limitless in reach and potential.

Take a deep inhale and imagine the breath starting from the root and then traveling up the spine out into the sky. Exhale and allow the breath to wash down the spine beginning from the crown of the head and continuing down into the ground. Continue this visualization, bringing attention back to the spine anytime the mind begins to wander. The breathe is pulled up from the ground on the inhale, filling the back body, and then pushed back down the spine, releasing any tension and stress as it exits the body.

Continue to breathe like this for ten breaths.

Return to a normal, soft breath. Now bring awareness to the skin— your first line of physical connection with the world around you. Bring your attention to the skin on your face. Relax and soften the jaw and forehead, two areas that tend to hold tension. Tune in to the sensation of the sun warming the hands and face. Imagine the warm white light first washing the hands, traveling up to the face, and then wrapping around the entire body as if you were being bathed in a blanket of warm white light. This is the light that is within you, always. Take a deep breath in, pausing at the top of the inhale, for five seconds to let the light fill up the inside and pour over the outside of the body. Exhale all the air out of the lungs slowly.

Continue to breathe like this for ten breathes, each time holding the breath at the top of the inhale for five seconds. Allow the light from the sun to flow seamlessly in and out of the body, mixing with your own internal light.

After your ten breaths return to a soft, normal breath. Open up the eyes, smile, notice how you feel, and thank yourself for taking time to connect with nature and with yourself.

Try this mediation three times a week for a month, and notice if you can detect any subtle shifts or differences in how you feel at the end of the four weeks.

By beginning to form a meditation practice, you are cultivating a safe space to go to; a positive energy to simultaneously lift you up and ground you down; and a means of opening the mind and expanding the heart, inevitably leading to a daily experience that is balanced, whole, and most importantly at ease.

Take this summer as an open invitation to step outside, breathe deeply, and feel rejuvenated.

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