10th June 2022

Meditation doesn't just have to mean sitting crossed legged on a cushion for hours on end. In this blog, we explore 7 ways you can turn your daily activities into mindfulness meditations, with accessible mini practices to keep you stable and grounded throughout your day.

Some people shy away from the idea of mindfulness because they believe the only way to meditate is to sit down cross-legged on a cushion, clearing their mind of thoughts, and finding bliss. How we love to bust that myth!

There are actually many different ways to practice mindfulness, and part of the fun is experimenting, getting to know yourself better, and finding what works best for you. You can practice mindfulness in almost any situation – as long as you are bringing your attention back to the present moment, you are being mindful.

We’ve shared just 7 examples below to give you a flavour, but of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. What would you add?

  1. Turn basic tasks into mini meditations

Almost any daily activity can be turned into a meditation, however mundane it may seem. Next time you’re brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or preparing a meal, try slowing down and taking some time to explore the sensations. How does the cold minty toothpaste feel in your mouth? Can you notice the warm bubbles in the washing up bowl pop as they dissolve? How many different colours and textures can you notice in your ingredients for dinner?

  1. Remember to breathe!

When we are stressed, busy, or in discomfort, we tend to hold our breath. Set a reminder to check in with your breath several times a day. What is the quality of this breath? Does it flow naturally, or is it constricted? Where can you notice the breath most strongly in your body? Keep a kindly attention on the flow breathing and let it gently rock the activity itself. As you breathe in and out, imagine the breath gently massaging and nourishing every organ and cell in your body. For a quick breath check-in, see our 3-minute breathing space here.

  1. At the doctor’s office

If due to your health condition you spend a lot of time in and out of appointments or hospitals, it can be particularly frustrating to try and meditate. We suggest you turn those same moments into meditations. E.g., in physiotherapy, pay close attention to the touch and movements and do your best to keep the breath flowing, as it’s easy to contract and clench the jaw during the manipulation. In waiting rooms, feel your feet on the floor, notice people sitting with you, the murmur of voices around (other human beings like you), check-in with your breathing and notice what kind of thoughts are present about being there. See? You are meditating!

  1. Try some mindful movement.

Experiment with Yoga, Tai-chi or Chi-Kung, which are all wonderful forms of movement. If you can’t attend a local class, many free videos are available on websites such as YouTube (but be sure to take care for your personal safety). In our Breathworks 8-week  courses we include gentle movements that become moving meditations. Not only do they improve awareness as you move, so you can then take it into your life when you walk, bend, reach, lift, etc. but they also improve your overall strength and flexibility. You can do these movements sitting, standing, or lying down. Find more information about the mindful movement pack here.

  1. Take mindful breaks.

 We tend to spend the majority of our day in ‘doing mode’, thinking, planning, working. Even when we take a break, we’re often scrolling on social media, reading a book, watching tv, or creating a mental to-do list. It might be surprising to consider how little time we allow ourselves to just ‘be’. Next time you take a break, you could experiment with a mini mindfulness practice such as watching the sky. This is a great one, because the sky is always there and even if you can’t go out, you can look through a window and see the vastness of the sky, which can be particularly helpful with contracted states. Try breathing out to soften the body while you look at the sky. As best you can, stay with the sensations in your body and check your “inner weather” – can you be like the sky, broad and vast?  Another mindful break you can take is to listen to sounds – click here for a guided practice.

  1. Tune into your senses.

You don’t always need a guided meditation to tune into your inner experience – you can work with the senses that are available to you. The 4-3-2-1 exercise can be a handy grounding tool to help you get out of your head and into your body. Here’s an example of how it works, but of course feel free to adapt the practice to the senses most available to you:

4 things you can see ⠀

3 things you can hear⠀

2 things you can touch or feel⠀

1 thing you can smell

  1. And don’t forget taste!

 How often have you engulfed an entire lunch without much awareness of what you are eating? We’re guilty here too. Turn your mealtimes into a mini meditation, eating slowly and consciously. Your stomach will thank you for it too!

So there we have it – there’s really no ‘correct’ way to meditate. There’s no need to be “in a good place” to meditate, literally or emotionally.  You start where you are, with your pain, with your grumpiness, your boredom, your happiness. Whatever the inner weather, if you bring a kindly awareness to it, with the intention of just being present without judgements, then you are already meditating.