During the stress of the holiday season it’s easy for me to write that we should be kind to ourselves, but how do we do it?
I challenge us all to sit still for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Sit criss-cross-apple-sauce (or Indian style depending on your age and if your children have corrected you) on the floor. Its best if you can sit on a firm blanket with your legs on the floor so that your knees are below your hips. Place your hands on your thighs, your arms loose. Attempt to find the center of you body and create a straight spine.
Then watch your breath. Follow it in and out. When thoughts and voices enter your head just watch them and then move your attention back to your breath. The best part about this exercise is that you cannot do it wrong. In the past I had tried to do this and because my mind began racing as soon as I sat down I felt that I had failed. However this is the point. Our brains talk at us non stop. Let your mind chatter. Listen to it without judgement. Then return focus to breath. Just be. Be a still, sitting person with a busy mind.
If sitting is too difficult because your back hurts or you just cannot sit for even one minute then try legs-up-the-wall. In yoga this pose is called viparita karani. You can see what it looks like at yogajournal.com. If you do not have a bolster, then use a firm blanket, and if no blanket is available then try the pose without.
If neither of these work for you perhaps you have an activity that you find relaxing such as cooking, baking, knitting, or sewing. Do this activity, however do it mindfully. Fully engage your mind in each motion. Notice other thoughts unrelated to the activity that attempt to take over. Instead move your focus back to the activity at hand.
Give it a try. Tell me how it goes.