From Tara's article on Mind Body Green
Do you have a hard time unplugging from your fast paced life of work, to-do lists, life responsibilities? Do you have a desire to meditate because you know it will quiet the mind and bring inner peace, but it’s challenging to sit still?
I absolutely relate! I can easily get caught in trying to do more, be more, accomplish more, and most certainly get distracted with the habitual checking of my phone, emails and texts. Now, more than ever, we are bombarded with the constant stream of stimulation and the pressure to keep up; all the more reason to find a way to gift ourselves the quiet, however we find it. That space where we can actually hear the inner callings of our soul. Where we can receive the guidance that reveals the path to greater fulfillment and happiness. I believe happiness is cultivated from within. This thought is the cornerstone of my INsideOUT workshops, using meditation, journaling, visualization and dance to connect to the peace inside.
Meditation is one of the ways I unplug, but going straight to the meditation pillow from an agitated, stressed-out place can be a challenge. As a professional dancer and choreographer, I know how getting grounded in the body through movement can be a bridge between the chattering, overworked, stressed mind, to the quiet and still space within that brings calm, peace and a sense of well-being.
If it’s a struggle to slow down to meditate, try using movement to help you.
1. Put on something comfortable and create some quiet, uninterrupted time for yourself, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Sit on a yoga mat or blanket with your legs crossed, closing your eyes or gazing gently at the floor. With your hands on your knees, slowly rotate your torso in a circle (clockwise), breathing in as you move forward and to the right and exhaling as you move back towards the left. Continue for one to two minutes and then rotate counter-clockwise for one to two minutes.
2. Begin to connect with your breath.
With a long inhale and exhale through the nose, allow your breath to deepen. The breath will oxygenate the cells and the movement will release tightness or holding in your hips and back. You may even hear and feel your spine adjust. Continue with this slow, gentle circular movement as your eyes are closed and your breath deepens.
3. Extend your chest forward.
As you get more comfortable in the body and in tune with the rhythm and pace of your circles, you may want to extend your chest forward to your knees even more and rotate to the back more fully, allowing a deeper stretch in your hips. If thoughts or worries come up, just observe them, let them go, and come back to the breath.
4. Focus on the movements of your body.
When you feel ready, bring your torso center above your hips. With your eyes closed and hands on your knees, Inhale as you push your chest forward, at the same time drawing your shoulders back. On the exhale, contract the spine in the opposite direction keeping your head parallel to the ground. Repeat this 26 times.
5. Stop the movement and let the energy vibrate inside.
And now, stop the movement and sit still with this energy vibrating inside. Allow your body to relax with a straight back and soft front. All tension melting away with a gentle focus at your inner third eye or gazing at the floor.
From this place, stillness can be experienced. Allow yourself time to bask in this blissful energy. Stay in this space as long as you can. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, gently move your body and come back to the energy of the room. You may want to write down any impressions and insight that came up for you.
Doing this movement before meditation always helps to center and ground my energy. I hope this helps you in your practice and sending good vibes for a peaceful inner experience, subsequently bringing more ease to your outside world.
Photo Credit: Lesli Matta