Practices for reducing stress and tension and boosting inner peace
I hope you’ve had a joyous summer and are enjoying the onset of fall and the back-to-school vibe.
If you sometimes find your mind racing and your body holding tension, here are a few mini practices for reducing stress and tension and boosting inner peace. Some days you may just need one, other days you may choose to do them all. Each helps to regulate the nervous system, restoring a sense of homeostasis in the body and mind. Enjoy!
Mini Movement Practice
I recorded this 6-minute video for my MSU Into to Yoga Nidra Meditation students and thought you may enjoy a mini-movement practice, too.
5 Mini Meditation Practices
Tune into your senses.
Our senses provide an anchor to the present moment. Bringing focused attention to each can bring a sense of calm and ease to the body and mind. To begin this mindfulness practice, notice sensations where your body contacts the support you’re resting upon. Notice the texture of your clothing and the temperature of the air on your skin; sounds in your environment, those far away and those in close proximity; colors, light, shapes, and shadows; any taste in the mouth; scent in the air. Notice how your body and mind feel after this mini practice. If you have time, continue on to feeling the breath.
Feel your breath.
To start, simply join in with the flow of the inhale and the exhale. There is nothing to fix, change or analyze, just follow the flow. Notice the pace and the texture. Ride the wave of the inhale all the way to its fullness, notice how it pauses then naturally releases into the exhale. Ride the wave of the exhale until it dissolves into stillness and a pause from which a new breath arises. Repeat this process. As you do this the breath might naturally slow and smooth creating a sense of calm and ease in the body and mind. You might sense a hint of vitality with the inhale and a grounding with the exhale.
Amplify your awesomeness.
With our mind’s negativity bias we often hyper-focus on what we believe to be wrong with us or the world around us. For this mini-meditation ask yourself, “How do I want to feel or be in this moment or as I go about my day?” Another question could be, “Who am I when I'm at my best?” Listen to the words that arise from within, such as patient, kind, calm, resilient, aligned, open, strong, creative, or courageous. Then feel this as true - in this moment. It is not something you have to cultivate, it is already a part of you. Be with this word in a nonverbal, somatic sense. How do you feel when you’re this? As you feel into it you are amplifying this quality of you. See yourself going about your day, taking actions that support this way of being. Perhaps write it on a post-it note or type it into notes on your phone as a gentle reminder of the awesomeness that is already a part of you.
Create some good vibrations.
This meditation taps into the power of sound and how it resonates inwardly and outwardly. To start, gently hum the sound of mmmmm as you exhale or the sound of OM. Start at the top of your inhale and allow the sound to fade into silence as the exhale dissolves into stillness. Repeat several times. You may wish to try different volumes and explore the range between sound and silence. The humming, or chanting, is like a detox for your mind. After several rounds pause and feel the echo of the humming or chanting in your body and mind.
Connect to your inner resource.
Your Inner Resource is a unique place that mentally feels comfortable and secure to you. It can be real or imaginary. To tap into it, bring to mind people, places, or experiences that make you feel calm, happy, nourished, and good overall. Use all your senses to enhance your experience: sensations, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that represent a sense of comfort and ease. As you rest here, notice how it feels in the body. Is there a sense of groundedness, spaciousness, or something else? There is not a right or wrong answer. Rather, it’s a self-inquiry and opportunity to self-regulate your nervous system by tuning into this inner sense of comfort and security.
Connect with others with live group meditation.
Live group meditations have the added bonus of coregulation. Humans are social creatures and need to be in relationships with others. The trick is to choose healthy relationships that foster nourishing coregulation. The group that gathers for The Invitation (Tuesdays and Thursdays on zoom) is a stellar bunch of humans to chat, laugh, meditate and coregulate with. 💚
Another bonus is the practices are guided. Guided meditations offer the mind something to hold on to and make it less prone to wandering. If you’re not sure if you’ll like meditating on zoom, (I get it, it sounded weird to me at first and now I’m hooked.) the first session is complimentary.
Connecting with other humans from across the country to sit together with the sole purpose of nourishing the soul is potent. Join us. The world needs more vibrant, peaceful, resilient and courageous humans, like you. ✨