Meditation restores a sense of inner calm, focuses the mind and releases stress. It helps us maintain steadiness amidst the life changes and emotional shifts we experience on a daily basis. But when we're juggling busy schedules or caught up in a hectic pace of life, it can be hard to fit meditation into our everyday.
In an ideal world, we would meditate at a specific hour each day for a fixed period of time, while seated on a comfortable cushion in a peaceful space. But that's not reality -- we have kids, we work unpredictable work schedules, we share living spaces, we deal with the curveballs thrown at us by life. Thus, flexibility is essential in our meditation practice.
We need to move away from traditional practice, which is typically free of noise or distractions and look for opportunities to meditate amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily life.
Here are a five non-traditional ways to fit meditation into your day.
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Whether you're on a bus, a subway, a plane or a train, being in an enclosed space offers a great opportunity to practice meditation.
Guided visualization meditations or guided breathing meditations can be listened to on your iPod or smartphone. You could also carry prayer beads (or mala beads) in the form of a bracelet or necklace. As you move your fingers over the beads, you repeat a mantra or phrase for a set period of time.
On A Walk
Whether you're on your lunch hour from work, walking to meet friends or on your way to pick up the kids from soccer practice, try a moving meditation to maintain your mental clarity.
At Your Desk
If you're stuck at your desk, plug your headphones into your computer, close your office door (if you have one) and take a quick meditation break to clear your thoughts and refresh your mind. There are countless meditation websites or YouTube channels that offer meditations to practice while at your desk.
In The Car
If you're the family chauffeur or your job requires a lot of driving, there will be times before a meeting or while on pickup duty when you are stuck sitting in a parked car. Have a meditation CD in your CD player and pick a track that is appropriate to the time you have available.
When the day is done and it's time to wind down, it's the perfect time to let go of the mental clutter of the day. Try practicing a mindful meditation while lying in bed. Not only does it free the mind of stress, it relaxes the body and prepares you for a good night's sleep.
By practicing meditation on the go, you can still glean the many benefits of meditation without confining your practice to a specific time or place.
Annabel Fitzsimmons is a freelance writer, runner, yoga and Pilates teacher and a mother of two young children. Her online yoga, Pilates and meditation studio is at www.clearspaceonline.com. She blogs -- as MeditatingMummy -- about taking yoga off the mat and into motherhood. Contact her by adding a comment below.