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Meditation: Techniques and Alternative Practices

We live in an overscheduled, extra busy, stressed out world. Everyone wants and needs to relax, calm down and find some peace. For

Everyone wants and needs to relax, calm down and find some peace. For some it is a life-style choice and for others it is a health issue.

Meditation can be a beneficial tool for this societal woe. We sit, we close our eyes and wait. We wait in hope that something magical will happen. For many, this cushion sitting technique for meditation is successful.

For others, it does the opposite of relaxation. It makes some people fidgety, anxious and more stressful.

Are you looking for some non-cushion seating meditation practices?

Here are three (3) Alternative Meditation Practices:

Walk and Move:

With purpose and intend, go for a walk. Take a moment to notice each step, notice what you see and notice the outside elements. Is it hot & steamy? Are the leaves beautiful, brilliant colors? Is it silent and snowing? Are there birds singing as trees bloom?

Keep moving, swing your arms, go up a hill and then go down a hill and feel your body active as your mind rests.

If you are a runner, please run. If you love to go to the gym, get there today. If you love to unrolled your yoga mat and explore your practice, practice on. Pick the movement that feels right for you, that is easy and available. Let your physical body release your busy mind through action.

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Gardening:

This is all about getting out of the house and connecting to nature. It is an active focus that helps to organize and settle the mind.

My favorites are raking leaves in the fall or shoveling snow in the winter. I practice these two forms of gardening the old fashion way: with a rake or a shovel. No blowers for me. Get out there, add a layer of clothes if need be, move around and enjoy your outdoor space.

You do not need 2-3 hours of heavy clean up time. Try it for 30 minutes or even 15 minutes at a time. I always feel accomplished and refreshed when I am done. Then, I go inside and relax with some yummy soup or a hot tea.

In the warmer weather seasons, maybe you are preparing flower beds or planting seedlings. It could be 15 minutes of weeding in a small section of your garden or planting herbs in pots on your deck or balcony.

Let nature soothe your fluctuating mind and soul.

Mantras or Affirmations

Did you love that scene in the movie, http://blackpowderranch.com/meta.php The Help, when the little girl repeated:

I am Kind,

I am Smart and

I am Important.

Delicious, powerful, beautiful moment, right? Yes! This is a perfect example of mantra or affirmation. Repeating or saying simple words to inspire you and help you calm your mind. In yoga, sometimes we call this chanting.

My favorites are the short ones, like:

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti {translates to: Peace, Peace, Glorious Peace}

Or mix it up with the breath:

Inhale – say Love

Exhale – say Peace

Inhale – say Peace

Exhale – say Gratitude

Pick your favorite song lyric, book quote or famous line from famous speech:

Imagine, all the people. {John Lennon}

You are your best thing. { http://wanzhencen.com/?p=24 Beloved, by Toni Morrison}

I have a dream. {Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.}

Words can bring comfort, ease and peace to any meditation practice.

Stand up, get off the cushion and try an alternative and action meditation practice. Remember, meditation is a practice of focused concentration to release and quite the mind as you enjoy life’s peaceful moments.

Namaste.

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