What is meditation to you? Most would think meditation requires “an inner state that is still, where the mind becomes silent”. Typically sitting in lotus position and chanting Om with the intent of attaining enlightenment. But don’t let that intimidate you, it can be so much more than that!
I used to set goals for practicing this traditional Spiritual Meditation, only to disappoint myself because I never found the right time, the right space or the right mantra to chant. So I began researching tools and techniques that might help me stick to a practice. That’s when I discovered there are many types of meditation, and I was already doing some of them.
Below I highlight three of my favorite methods of ‘active’meditation that I find easily accessible for busy schedules and active lifestyles:
- Mindfulness Meditation is gaining popularity as a way to manage stress and gain perspective. This practice is useful whether you are in the heat of a moment and in need of finding center, or already in a state of balance but desire a deeper connection. Take five-minutes. Step back from a situation and just observe what is happening – your environment, the people in it and your reactions. Or take five minutes to check-in with yourself – recognize your bubbling emotion, give it space, then let it go. Take five minutes to hone in and just be aware.
- Movement Meditation. As a runner, this is my favorite practice for grounding in the present and calming my mind. This active form of meditation inherently connects mind, body and breath (pranayama). Like there are many forms of yoga (bikram, vinyasa, restorative, etc), movement can range from strenuous exercise to a slow, paced stroll. Movement meditation can start with a sharp focus, a specific thought your mind wants to work out. Or you can begin with a clear consciousness and concentrate on your movement and breathe. Just start moving and connect with your physical body.
- Focused Meditation is using one of your five senses to concentrate: sight, sound, smell, taste or touch. Calm the chatter in your head and ground yourself with a physical sense. Gaze upon a candle flame, listen to a great piece of music or inhale a grounding scent to help you tune out distractions and turn your attention inward. Think about the intricate beauty of that thing. Notice the movement and composition. Let it take your mind to a place of peace or joy, and reset your consciousness.
“The goal of meditation is no goal; it’s simply to be present.”