Happy National Yoga Month! Celebrate with us by rebooting your yoga routine for 21 days in September. To seal your home practice habit for life, sign up for YJ's upcoming 21-Day Yoga Challenge online course, crafted to cultivate lasting commitment. Plus, enter to be on the cover of an upcoming issue in 2016. Follow #YJChallenge on Facebook and Twitter for more inspiring tips each day.
Now that summer’s basically over and work and school are back in full swing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious that there’s no real break in near sight until the holidays roll around. Enter: meditation. It takes just 10 minutes of meditating to seriously unwind. If you don’t meditate regularly, the practice can be a little intimidating—but it doesn’t have to be! This simple guide can get you started.
- Choose a time. It helps to start to meditate at the same time every day. Our minds and bodies have natural rhythms, and they respond positively to meditating at a consistent time daily.
- Find a quiet meditation space. Sensory cues like cushions, clothing, candles and dedicated space will all signal to your mind that is time to turn inward.
- Get comfortable. You may eventually be maintaining the same position for a half-hour at a time. Make sure your spine is erect: Try sitting in a straight-backed chair with flat seat, a pillow behind your back, and feet flat on the floor. Or sit cross-legged on the floor, with a folded blanket under you, your hips a few inches higher than your knees.
- Start to focus on your breath. Exhale, feeling that the breath gently lifts the spinal column through the crown of the head. Inhale, letting the chest lift and open. Exhale again, allowing the shoulder blades to release down the back.
- Relax. Inhale, and imagine that the sides of your ears move back just enough so your head and neck feel aligned with your shoulders. Your chin should tilt slightly downward. With your palms resting on your thighs, touch your thumbs to your forefingers. Let your tongue rest on the floor of your mouth. Close your eyes.
- Increase your awareness. With each inhalation, notice each area that feels tight—your shoulders, your chest, your belly; with each exhalation, release any tension there. Allow the breath to flow at a natural rhythm; as you inhale, sense particles of peaceful light and energy flowing in.
- Antsy? Don’t sweat it. Remember to refocus. Pushing through uninspired sessions will help you build “meditation muscle.”