Updated: Jul 19
Meditation and Qigong is proven to help alleviate stress levels stress, reduce anxiety, clear your mind and promote better sleep, what's not to like?
Take 10 minutes a day to unplug!
I get what you are already thinking. There are WAY too many things in life to do to waste time sitting on your butt with your eyes closed!
There are dishes piling up in the kitchen, kids lunches to pack, the dog to walk, the lawn to mow, the shopping to do, and a full time job to look forward to every day, so why should you waste what precious spare time you do have practicing meditation? Surely a wine or whisky is just as good a way to take the edge off after a hectic day?
Well I wouldn't blame you. If it makes you feel any better I also often feel stressed, overworked and under-appreciated, and struggle to find enough time to scratch myself, let alone dedicate time to meditation or Qigong practice.
I am forty years old, have two kids under five years old, work two jobs for a total of about sixty hours a week, and when I am not working, like to spend as much time as possible with my family. Having said that, I find that part of what keeps me motivated, engaged and able to handle such a busy lifestyle, is my dedication to Qigong and Meditation practice.
I try to take time out every day, even if it is for only ten minutes, to switch off my phone, turn off the television, and find a relatively quiet place to sit, (which if you have toddlers you know EXACTLY how challenging that can be), preferably outdoors, to unplug from the world and allow my batteries to recharge.
Having twenty years’ experience in internal Martial Arts and Qigong / Meditation practice, one thing I can assure you of, that this small time I allow myself to unwind pays dividends in all other areas of my life.
What benefits have I noticed from the practice?
A few of the many benefits I have noticed since starting my daily practice include; better overall sleep and improved mood (I am slower to lose my temper or get annoyed at the little things), I have better memory recall and find I am able to make decisions more quickly and easily, I feel less stressed even when faced with difficult situations, and I have abundant energy despite long working days, often over twelve hours a day.
As a result I always try to ensure I take a bit of time out, either first thing in the morning before everyone else rises, or in the evening when the kids and wife are in bed, to slip in some 'me time' and enjoy my practice.
Initially when meditating I found it extremely hard to 'switch off' and stop thoughts from racing through my mind as I practiced, but with persistence and a strong focus on my breathing, I began to notice reaching a state of deep relaxation more and more quickly.
Over time I have now started to notice how much I look forward to my 'sneaky getaway', and even though I am the last to bed and often the first to rise in my household, I feel amply energised to get on with my day. I figure that if I can keep up with a crazy two year old that never seems to tire, then I must be benefiting from the practice in some way.
What is the best way to begin?
1. The first step is to find your spot, the one place that you will be least likely to be disturbed when you are doing your practice. If like me, you have a dog in your yard that thinks the best way to help you with your practice is to lick our face until you fall over, or sit on your lap even though she weighs twenty five kilos, then more likely an indoor session or the front yard may be the way to go.
2. Find a comfortable sitting position with back supported if necessary, and a cushion or pillow to sit on, so that your mind will not be focused on how comfortable you are, and that way you can begin to relax.
3. Place the tip of your tongue on the hard palette of your mouth directly above your two front teeth. Close your eyes and begin to inhale deeply, in and out through the nose.
4. Try to focus on your breathing until you notice that the many thoughts popping into your head start to drift away. If a thought comes up while sitting, don't get agitated or upset, just let the thought rise and pass, as if it were a balloon drifting up from your mind into the sky.
5. Enjoy the serenity of the moment, and feel yourself going into a deeper and deeper state of relaxation. Over time you may start to notice that your body feels light, and your sensation of the world around you starts to disappear. For me it often feels as though I am dreaming, or in a deep sleep, yet my mind is very much alert and at peace.
I hope you have enjoyed my introduction to meditation practice, although quite basic, it is often the simple things in life that bring us the most enjoyment. So give it a go for yourself and see if it changes your life for the better as it has done for me.