Meditation is one of the best exercises you can do to reduce stress and introduce inner peace to your body. Spending even just a few minutes in meditation can bring mental clarity and emotional stability. In fact, studies have found that people who meditate regularly report gaining a new perspective on stressful situations, building skills to manage stress, increasing imagination and creativity and reducing negative emotions amongst the benefits.
So, instead of simply grabbing your lunch and eating it over your desk while you answer emails, use your breaktime to recharge for the rest of the afternoon. Here are some meditation exercises and activities to try:
The Stimulating Breath is a great way to boost energy, helping you to be more alert.
- Sit up tall with your back straight and relax your shoulders.
- Begin inhaling and exhaling rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. In and out breaths should be equal in duration but as short and quick as possible.
*For beginners, try this exercise for 15 seconds, slowly up to a minute and so on.
- Relaxing Breathing (4-7-8)
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise helps calm your nervous system.
- Sit up with your back straight and relax your shoulders.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the tissue behind your upper teeth and keep it there as you breathe.
- Inhale through your nose to a count of four.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for approximately eight seconds.
- Repeat three or more times.
- Body Scan or Progressive Relaxation
The body scan mediation, or progressive relaxation, is a meditative exercise that encourages people to scan their bodies for areas of tension with the goal of releasing it. It’s a good exercise that works towards achieving feelings of calmness.
- Get into a comfortable position, you can sit or lie down for this exercise.
- Close your eyes and starting with your feet and toes, tune into any sensations you feel, like pain or discomfort. This is often felt through tingling, aching or throbbing.
- Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through the mouth, releasing the discomfort you feel in your body.
- Continue this breathing as you work up your body, identifying tension in your legs, hips, back, stomach, chest, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and finally face. Focus on releasing the tension one area at a time.
Kundalini Yoga combines deep breathing with mantras to improve physical strength and reduce pain and anxiety.
- Sit straight up, put your palms together in front of you with your fingers pointed upwards and close your eyes lightly.
- Start by inhaling your breath, breaking it into four parts, i.e. pause during your inhale four times.
- Next, exhale, also breaking it into four parts.
*Every time you go a part breath on both the inhale and exhale, pull your belly button area in towards your spine*
- Start to introduce a mantra. Popular mantras include ‘Sa – Ta – Na – Ma’ which means ‘Infinity – Life – Death – Rebirth’ or ‘Sat Nam’ which means ‘Truth Is My Identity’. Chant the mantra as you inhale and exhale. For example, chant ‘Sat’ for inhale and ‘Nam’ for exhale.
- After about three minutes of this exercise (you can go for longer if you wish), end the exercise by pushing your hands together while breathing inwards. Then, relax your hands and exhale with force. Repeat twice.