If you are feeling panicky and overwhelmed with all the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, then you are not alone. In this post I'll share with you a mindfulness-based meditation that will give you support whenever you feel worried, anxious, stressed, unsettled, panicky, or overwhelmed. It only takes a few minutes to do and will help steady you so that you feel more able to cope with whatever arises. It can be particularly useful during hectic, stressful times when you most need meditation but seem to have zero time to devote to it. So for those of you with caring responsibilities, such as kids off school, or jobs on the front-line, it can be a way of squeezing in a few minutes meditation in a busy day.
If you can find a few minutes to spend on this meditation it will actually save you time, as it restores a sense of perspective; preventing you from running around like the proverbial headless chicken. If you put in the time to learn and practice this meditation regularly, it will be there for you when you need it most, helping to restore a sense of calm. It's called The Four Minute Check-in Meditation and can be found on page 144 of the Yoga Through the Year book.
The Four Minute Check-in Meditation
This meditation can be done anywhere and anytime. Usually it is done standing, although it could be adapted to sitting or lying down.
A simple way of remembering the four stages of the meditation is by the acronym: S.A.G.E.
S: Stand tall
Step One: Stand Tall: Assume an upright and dignified posture.
Step Two: Awareness: Become aware of any thoughts and feelings that are arising. Notice any bodily sensations that you are experiencing. Just observe your inner experience, without judging, shaping or trying to change it.
Step Three: Gathering: Bring your awareness to your breathing. Notice how with each in and out breath the belly gently rises and falls. If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to an awareness of the belly rising and falling with each breath.
Step Four: Expanding your Awareness: Be aware of the breath at the belly and be aware of the whole body breathing. If any part of your body feels tight or tense, imagine that you are breathing into it on the in-breath and breathing out from it on the out-breath; softening, releasing, and letting go with each exhale. Allow your experience to be just as it is in this moment.
Resolve to take this more open, spacious and accepting awareness into the next thing that you do today.
The above meditation is my version of a popular mindfulness technique called The Three Minute Breathing Space. You can find an audio version of the meditation on the Finding Peace in a Frantic World website, where you'll also find plenty of other free mindfulness meditations.
Jilly Shipway, sharing seasonal yoga ideas and inspiration with you through the year...
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Disclaimer: if you have any concerns about your health or suitability to do yoga, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the yoga routines in this blog.