By Tejal Patel
Regardless if you are a person of spirituality or science, there is no shortage of information on the benefits of meditation for your physical, mental and spiritual health.
Many individuals, with a consistent mindfulness practice, have experienced moments of inner bliss, clarity and stillness on the meditation mat. The caveat is we don’t live on the meditation mat. As modern-day individuals, we aren’t recluses in a cave. We live among the busy world and have earthly responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. If we can’t find a way to bring moments of acceptance and calmness into everyday moments like when your child is having a tantrum, when your business is failing or when you are late for work because an accident caused delay, then we haven’t truly mastered the real purpose of meditation.
Sitting on the mat creates discipline. It gives us the experience of what it feels like to be in control of our mind by finding moments of stillness. The goal of sitting and meditating is to create a practice of finding mastery over our mind, rather than continuing to be a slave to our thoughts. The real challenge is bringing that mastery into the unexpected moments of life.
So how do we do that? Here’s a secret. Our mind follows our breath and our body follows our mind. So if we are breathing shallow, quick breathes, it’s pretty certain we have tons of thoughts racing around in our head that are making us feel impatient, fearful or stressed. As we deepen our breath, our mind follows suit and slows down, thus creating more calmness and clarity.
Here are three easy-to-incorporate mindfulness techniques to add into any busy schedule.
1) Conscious Breathing Anchors
Normally, we are unaware of our breath since we don’t have to do anything to make it happen. On the other hand, conscious breathing requires our full attention. Creating a pattern of deep breathing from our belly requires us to train our mind and body to breathe deep and slow. In order to break a bad habit, we must create a good habit to take its place.
Pick 3 activities you frequently do on a daily basis. I picked opening a door, driving a car and picking up my tea cup. Set the intention that every time you do those activities, you are going to consciously shift to long deep breathing. That means as you inhale your belly expands out like a balloon and when you exhale your navel contracts back to the spine.
To help build your habit, create visual reminders to solidify the anchor, by placing post-its that say “BREATHE DEEP” in places you associate with your activities. Each time you breathe with an activity, you are creating a repetitive anchor. Over time, your brain will be rewired to unconsciously take deep breathes with certain daily activities.
2) Synchronize Your Stride
Walking is the perfect time to slow down and get mindful by linking our breath to our stride. Each time the right leg steps forward breathe in, each time left leg steps forward breathe out. Make sure to take long deep breaths. You can also mentally vibrate a mantra with your stride. Breathe in “I am relaxed” when the right leg steps forward, and “I release tension” when the left leg steps forward. Be creative and create mantras that resonate with you.
Slowing down the breath, slows down your stride and allows you to become more present to the details of that moment. Get out of your head by connecting to your stride.
3) Shift Your Breath Pattern
Anytime you find yourself in a stressful situation where your temper could come out, shift your breathing pattern. Inhale deeply with your mouth open and exhale through your nose. This conscious shift in breathing helps you refocus on another activity other than the negative thoughts in your mind. The mouth breathing literally has a cooling effect as you bring in more oxygen into your body. Your brain can slow down, so you can regain control over your thoughts, and thus control your reactions.
Becoming the master of our mind, and not remaining its slave, goes beyond the 20 minutes we spend in quietness on our mat. It’s by bringing mindfulness into the everyday situations of our life we truly become the master of inner peace, acceptance and tranquility.
Tejal Patel is a former divorce attorney who reinvented her life to become a Spiritual Soul Coach, Family Meditation Teacher and is the Best Selling Author of 20 Beautiful Women. She is the dynamic founder of the unique Astitva Seekers Soul Coaching Program where she counsels women, mothers and families, around the world, on breaking fears, patterns and beliefs so they can tap into their inner power. As a modern-day spiritual teacher, she inspires her followers, to incorporate mindfulness techniques into their life, with her free weekly mindfulness Vlogs and Blogs. You can sign up at www.AstitvaSeekers.com or stay connected through Facebook.
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