Traditional seated meditation may hold a hallowed place in the meditation world, but it’s definitely not the only way to practice mindfulness.
The benefits of a regular mindfulness practice have proved to be legion, including relieving stress, reducing anxiety, increasing focus, and alleviating chronic pain.
But now that many of us are working from home, seated in front of our computers for long hours, the idea of sitting for even longer in order to meditate may not seem very compelling. The good news is that seated meditation is just one way to practice the art of staying aware in the present moment.
Here are a few other options for working on mindfulness without staying glued to your chair.
1. Go for a mindful walk.
This is not just stomping around. Mindful walking involves paying attention to each step you take and each movement your body makes as you walk. What does it feel like as your foot makes contact with the ground? As it lifts up?
If you find that your mind has wandered off to what kind of sandwich you’re planning to make for lunch, simply return your attention to your body. A walk in nature may have extra healing effects, but mindful walking can be done anywhere, including your living room. (I once practiced it in an airport lounge, to the curiosity of other travelers waiting to board.)
2. Take a sensory shower.
Like many activities we do routinely, showering is one where we tend to go through the motions—our hands are shampooing and scrubbing but our minds are rehashing that conversation we had with Susan from Accounting. This is a great opportunity to tune in mindfully to your senses. How does the hot water feel on your skin? What sounds do the droplets make? What scents can you pick up? Again, if your mind drifts, which it almost inevitably will, just gently bring it back again.
3. Try a body scan.
The body scan is a type of meditation that is often done lying down. You’re moving your attention carefully and gradually over your body, from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head, noticing any sensations that arise. You can do a body scan on your own, but I think having a voice guide can be really helpful, partly because it may prevent you from falling asleep. There are many good guided body scans out there—just search for one on your favorite meditation app.
Traditional seated meditation may hold a hallowed place in the meditation world, but it’s definitely not the only way to practice mindfulness. I hope you’ll try out these alternatives if you need to give your buns a break!
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