Updated: May 12
Here is a challenge for you: Try to do nothing. For five minutes per day (ideally at the same approximate time) just be still. Either sit or lie down and see if you can get your mind and your body to accept stillness and the act of just BE-ing. Your body will want to find an itch or an ache. Wait for it to pass. If it doesn't, slowly (like a sloth) find a different position that feels better. Your mind will wander. That is perfect. Accept what thoughts come in briefly. Just as easy as they come in, let them wander out. That IS mindfulness (the act of coming back each time your mind wanders). Treat the thoughts like each cloud in the sky: You might label its shape but you don't spend too much time analyzing its meaning. You let it drift away; there is always another that catches your attention.
As you DO nothing you are actually practicing an art, a skill, and a priceless habit for clarity/strength/discipline. (Read below for reasons and tips to master this Jedi tool!)
Preparation: Before you begin, silence your phone and set your timer. Also, pick what mind anchor you will come back to each and every time that your mind wanders. You can choose a word or a body part. For example, pick... (1) a random word that has little meaning to you ("Sukha") OR choose an easy word that has an easy cadence ("Renew"). (2) a single point in the body like the back of your belly button, the center of your breastbone, the top of your head. This is your 'mind anchor'. Get super comfortable with pillows to support your low back. If you are sitting in a chair, have your feet supported by the floor. If on the floor, support your back with a wall and pillows under knees if cross legged position is chosen. If you are lying on your back, yogi's call that "Savasana" (sha-va-sana). Make sure you are comfortable by using pillows, blankets, and/or bolsters so very little muscular tension remains in the body.
(1) Acknowledge your intention to give your body and mind this time. Plan for 3 to 5 minutes and then increase as you continue this practice.
(2) Bring your attention to your breath and during this time focus on your exhale...long, smooth, and audible. This signals the nervous system to relax.
(3) Start at your heels and mentally move up the body trying to make them feel heavier. Scan for insidious tension in the jaw, temples, shoulders and even the hips. Allow yourself to let all tension fade.
(4) Be still. Even with temptation to move or fidget, wait for it to subside. Place your mind back onto your 'mind anchor'.
(5) Be patient; it is training. The brief moments of quiet might be uncomfortable at first. Stay on course and the practice gets easier.
(6) Take a mental snapshot of how each level of your being feels at the beginning and again at the end. Notice if you feel more rested, alert, and alive than when you started.
(7) Move slowly out of your Savasana pose or your sitting position. Applaud yourself- you are increasing a skill-set that is priceless & timeless.
You are teaching the body the opposite of restless! You are showing the brain that you have control over your state of being!! You are getting help from your parasympathetic nervous system because your breath tempo has slowed down, even if you are not practicing any fancy breath pattern. When that aspect of your nervous system is in charge, the tightness in subtle muscles and tissue fibers of the body can release!!! You are actually doing SO much good for SO many aspects of your being. MASTER THIS, AND YOU ARE A JEDI !!!!