There's no denying that we all need a bit of chill time at the end of each year. By relaxing and focusing our energy inwards we allow our minds to quieten. Breathe plays an important role in our nervous system and allows us to calm. Both the mind and the body have a bit of time to catch up and reset.
There are many ways to meditate. You can use your breath, chant a mantra to focus on an object or visualise a sacred place. The aim is the same - centre, refocus and clear out anything that is not serving you. The goal is to feel re-energised. Scientific research shows that meditation can increase brain power, boost your mood, help sleep and improve creativity.
When is the best time to meditate: When you have 5-10 minutes free in your day and if you don’t have time then while you are doing a daily task take your attention to your breathing.
How to start: The best way to start is to sit and focus on your breathing. Breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of four. You can play with your breathing. Closing your eyes always helps. You want to try and let your thoughts come and go out. Don't worry if you can't stop your thoughts to begin as you practice, you will get better at just being present.
Three ways to practice your breathing, meditation and relaxing:
1. Lie on your back with your feet apart (if this feels like too much pressure on your lower back you can bring your knees in). Take your arms out the side with your palms facing up. Slide your shoulders down and back. Imagine that your body is melting down into the floor. Focus on your breathing deeply and slowly. Lie in this position for 5 minutes or so with closed eyes.
2. Stand on your feet with a slight gap between them and your knees slightly bent. Relax the upper body down to your knees and let your head hang heavy. Take 8-10 deep breaths
before slowly rolling back up to standing.
3. For healthy knees, and an extra stretch in your lower back you can lie in a resting position on your knees. Fold your upper body forward, rest your hands on the floor, and think of opening your shoulders wide and relaxing your shoulders. Tense up your muscles and consciously relax them and let the tension leave your body. Then you can do a couple of deep breaths in and out in this position.
Don't be tempted to miss relaxation time - we all need it and it is good for us. Find some time and build it into your daily routine. The holidays are for sure a good time to create this habit.