As I sit here writing this there is a light snow falling outside. How fitting for a December post! I know some of you do not love the idea of winter, the coldness, dryness, and the snow. However, I challenge you to find something positive about it. For me, I love to sit outside during a snowstorm, preferably at night when the sky has a beautiful purple hew, listening to the sounds of nature. There is something so calming and peaceful about the stillness, how the earth settles and nestles in as the snow quietly falls.
It is from that stillness that a natural desire to go inwards occurs. Simply sitting comfortably with the eyes closed, slowing the breathing and focusing on the present can have a deeply relaxing and calming effect. Research shows that meditation can help improve stress, anxiety, sleep and irritability*.
Whether you are a regular meditator, have never tried it, or are somewhere in between, I want to offer you a simple meditation to help you stay connected to yourself and feel grounded as you move into the holiday season. While the holidays can bring about a lot of excitement, they can also be very overstimulating and stressful. Try this whenever you are feeling stressed or a little disconnected, or even better, practice it daily for overall wellness. Similar to maintaining your car, your mind and spirit needs maintenance as well.
Sit comfortably with a straight spine either in a chair or on the floor. Gently close your eyes or find a soft gaze in front of you. Take a deep breath in and exhale out of your mouth, feel free to sigh. Do this 1-3 times to prepare.
Imagine a bright white light starting at the base of your spine (your tailbone) as you inhale through your nose imagine the white light slowly going up your spine until it reaches the top of your head (crown chakra), as you exhale out of your nose imagine the light slowly traveling back down your spine and out of your tailbone.
If you have a hard time visualizing the light, just use the breath as a focus, feeling the belly fill with air with the inhalation and fall towards the spine upon exhalation. When or if you get distracted by a noise or a thought comes up, simply acknowledge it and then let it pass. Do not attach to it. Don’t get upset as this is a normal part of meditation and will happen, simply return your attention to your breath. Over time you will find it gets easier.
Repeat this for 1-2 minutes to start and increase length as desired. It can be helpful to set a timer to help you mind the time. I like to set mine to chimes and put the volume on low so it is not too alarming. Once it goes off, take a few more deep breaths and notice how you feel. You should hopefully feel more calm and centered. This is something you can do anywhere, from your car, office or even in the bathroom. Whenever you find yourself needing to relax or wanting to tune in, simply close your eyes and breathe.