Meditation & Mantras
Last updated: May 29, 2020, at 10:41 a.m. PT
Originally published: May 28, 2020, at 8:43 a.m. PT
Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone; But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on, Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea. And, there’s no way of telling where the end is going to be.
This poem "Drop a Pebble in the Water" by James W. Foley feels so reflective of our present time. There is a lot going on around us amid the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone is home these days and it feels like a crazy time in our world.
How do we go about our daily lives in these shifting times? As the saying goes, you must first take care of yourself before you can help others. We need to nurture ourselves so that we can remain healthy and be clear-minded and open-hearted to be of better assistance to others. If we take the time to nurture ourselves through meditation, mantras, through grounding and centering activities, this energy will be passed on to others and ignite the domino effect. Couldn’t we all use some positive energy right now?
A simple meditation, either seated or lying down.
It’s important to think about your alignment in either position. Think of your body as a vessel or container. If it is collapsed, it has been compromised. If the vessel is well constructed (aligned), it will be spacious, strong, and better able to hold its contents. Our body is that vessel and when it is aligned, our breath flows easily and fluidly affirming the symbiotic relationship of breath and body in support of our total well-being.
Seated: Sit in a chair that is neither too soft nor too hard. Feel your feet rooted into the earth. Notice where your body naturally rests into your chair. Rest your hands on your lap face down or face up. Close your eyes and allow your eyes to settle back and down.
Lying Down: Lie on a comfortable but firm surface. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Either relax your legs at a comfortable hip distance apart or walk your feet out and allow your knees to fall in toward each other (constructive rest). Place your hands at rest near your navel.
Close your eyes and allow your eyes to settle back and down. Allow the sounds around you to exist as part of your environment. Welcome them in and then let them go. Spend 5-10 minutes or as long as you like just being in the moment.
A directed breathing technique.
This directed breathing technique may be better suited for sitting but you can explore and discover what feels right to you. It is an excellent way to ground yourself into the present moment.
Humming Bee (or Bhramari Pranayama): Bring your hands up to your ears and with your thumb gently press your ear flaps to “close” the ears. Remaining fingers rest on your head. Eyes closed, become aware of the space between your eyebrows (or the 3rd eye). Draw a deep breath in through your nose. Exhale slowly with your mouth closed (teeth slightly parted and jaw soft) and create a smooth, steady humming sound to every end of your exhale. This is one complete round. Repeat 4-7 times.
Meditation with movement
Do you prefer a little movement with your meditation but still like to lie down? Borrowed from The Feldenkrais Method, this move called Pouring Sand is a favorite. Lying down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, rest your arms out to the side in a letter “t”, palms facing open toward the sky. Take a deep breath in and on your exhale slowly, slowly rotate your arms downward in the direction of your feet pouring the sand to the earth. Inhale as you return to the “t”, pause here, then repeat 7-10 times.
Another wonderful way we can nurture ourselves is by using Mantras, which you can do either in your stillness or in movement. Here’s one to start with from Alison DeNicola: Say out loud or within your mind: I listen openly and honor the voice of my heart. If you prefer stillness, add the following mudra (hand gesture) in support of the mantra. If you prefer to move, try repeating this mantra as you take a walk or do some gentle yoga moves like downward dog or cat/cow.
May you stay well, create new ways for healthy living, and open your heart to others.