June 2001 was the year I was introduced to meditation outside of the yoga studio. I was sitting in the passport office with a million other impatient people trying to get the last thing that stood between us and our vacation abroad. In the midst of all this confusion my eyes landed on the only person in the building not stressing (or cursing, or crying).When a seat opened up near her I jumped in it. How is it that she is not freaking out? Her child was talking a mile a minute and there was so much noise in the office, yet there she was, sitting with her eyes closed looking peaceful. When she finally “came to” I asked her “How?” She replied, “Meditation is about getting back to you and blocking out everything else.” I have never forgotten that.
In the 11 years since that chance meeting I’ve used the techniques she shared with me in that chaotic scene regularly:
1. Define your space: Find a place free of distraction where you can sit for at least 15 minutes. Turn off your phone, put the kids out in the yard and settle in.
2. Sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. Keep your arms down by your side or in a prayer pose (if seated). Close your eyes.
3. Inhale deeply through your nose. Be sure to fill your lungs and hold for 3 counts. Release through your mouth for 3 counts. This serves as cleansing to both your mind and your body.
4. Continue to breathe deeply. Allow yourself the opportunity to relax with each breathe. Focus your attention on the breathe. Listen to your environment.
5. Acknowledge your being and your thoughts. However, do note get engulfed in them. If you feel your thoughts creeping in to disturb your peace return the focus to your breathe. Listen to your environment again; see yourself as connected to the world.
6. Sit up and continue to focus on your breathing. if you were laying flat on your back rise to a crossed-leg pose and bring your hands to your heart center. Continue breathing in deeply through your nose and out your mouth as you slowly open your eyes.
And there you have it. You’ve completed your first simple meditation. I’ve shared this technique with several friends and so far they’ve all been successful.
~ Namaste ~