Yes, we should all be social distancing right now — but that doesn't mean we can't metaphorically lean on one another for support during these times of uncertainty.
I'm finding stress relief since reaching out to Kelsey Patel, a certified reiki expert and yoga instructor. She created a guided meditation for moments when I need to catch my breath and mentally escape from the confines of my home, and it may help you out, too.
Before getting started, it's key to clean up your space and set the mood. Lighting a candle, brewing a cup of tea, and settling in among blankets and pillows does the trick for me.
By priming our environment, Patel explains that we are creating an intentional practice of slowing down and catering to ourselves.
As you embark on the meditation below, remember to be easy on yourself — it's normal for your mind to wander. If this happens, though, allow yourself to readjust and find your center.
"You can do this practice at any time of the day, and do it as many times as needed to reclaim your sense of peace and calm," Patel notes.
Take 10 rounds of breath following Patel's guided sequence: Inhale for a count of 3-4 seconds as you extend and expand the stomach. As you exhale for 6-8 seconds, allow your mouth to open. Focus on the exhale and lengthening the breath out so you can release any tension or stress in the body and mind.
After completing 10 rounds, maintain this breathing pattern as you permit yourself to explore the physical body entirely, Patel says. Scan the body with your mind from the top of the head, down to the tips of the toes. Go slow. Hold the breath for a few moments when you feel tension and tightness — focus on releasing the energy there.
Once you have scanned the body for tension and stress, Patel suggests focusing your attention on your heart space. Feel the energy of the heart slowly expanding. As it builds and opens up in the heart space, allow the excess energy to spill out into all of your muscles, limbs, bones, cells, and organs.
For a few minutes, feel the whole body opening up to this peace and spaciousness, coming from the heart space, Patel urges.
When you feel ready, slowly bring your awareness back to your physical body in the room. Feel your seat on the floor, the four walls around you, and the space of air around the body. From this state of peace, set an intention for the rest of your day or evening, Patel summarizes.
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