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Whether you aspire to meditate, you’ve started (and stopped) too many times to count, or you’re in a good groove and want to stay there, read on. This five-day practice will help you discover and embrace the power of sitting every day.
All too often, students tell me they’ve started a meditation practice but can’t seem to stick to it. They don’t have time. They get uncomfortable when they’re sitting. Their monkey minds get the better of them. While these are all legitimate diversions, they’re not reason enough to give up entirely. That’s because your meditation practice can transform your life, doing everything from boosting your mood to infusing all of your interactions—whether with loved ones, strangers, or even the most difficult people in your life—with love and a sense of groundedness. When we take time to be soft with our mind, our mind will be more easeful with us.
The key, I believe, is making your meditation a simple, personal practice that feels good for you—which may not mean sitting cross-legged for 20 minutes every morning. Here, I’ve designed a five-day meditation practice to help you experiment and find greater ease and more fun. Each day, there’s a short yoga sequence focused on a different area of the body to help you move and stretch, giving direction to your energy for the meditation and allowing you to feel quieter and more comfortable as you sit. You’ll also experience different meditation postures and practices—my hope is that you find the ones that feel right for you.
May these practices inspire you to create your own true-to-you, rejuvenating daily routine, and may you discover a feeling of being utterly at home in your meditations.
Today, you’ll get acquainted with your feet, stretch and strengthen your legs, and treat your entire body to a rejuvenating rest before you sit. Consider this a reorientation to your foundation.
Today, we’ll work on strengthening your core with a few standing postures, which will help you feel the relationship between your core and steadiness— both physically and energetically. Warm up by holding Down Dog for a few breaths to stretch your limbs and muscles. Then, as you move through the asanas, place your attention on your belly as you breathe, taking your navel to your spine with each exhalation to help lengthen and open the front of your body.
Today, you’ll spend time opening your hips, hamstrings, front body, and side body. This will free up space for energy to flow, helping your organs function optimally for greater mental clarity and endurance.
Today, we’ll practice moving your attention into your chest and heart space, where you receive and give love. By opening your wrists, collarbones, and upper lungs, you’re flushing toxins out of the joints and allowing your body to come into balance. Take your time to grow accustomed to these movements and stay with them, as this practice is a series of strong, safe releases for your emotional body. Before you begin, roll a blanket tightly into a little burrito and set it within easy reach of your practice space.
Today, we’ll build on the foundational practices we’ve done thus far to enjoy robust breathing, a free mind, and a bird’s-eye view with a light heart. By turning upside down to open the throat and neck, we’re prepping for a full integration of the meditation practice.
Elena Brower is the author of Art of Attention, a renowned yoga workbook, now translated into five languages. Studying and teaching since 1998, she’s respected globally for her distinct blend of alignment and attention in her teaching of yoga and meditation. Her audio meditation coursework, Cultivating Spiritual Intelligence, is beloved for its accessibility and relevance, and her yoga teaching is influenced by several traditions including Katonah Yoga, Kundalini and ParaYoga. Elena is also the founder of Teach.yoga, a global website for teachers, and her second book, Practice You, will be published in 2018 by Sounds True. Practices with Elena can be found on YogaGlo.com.