Breath + Cup of Tea = Meditation
After a fabulous term of yoga we spent a little bit of time in the final week talking about a “homework” project for the break and I just wanted to reach out to you all to remind you that your meditation can be anything that slows you down and allows you to just be mindful and aware of what it is you are absorbing or experiencing.
For me the cup of tea that my lovely hubby brings me each morning before he heads out the door to work is actually my second meditation for the day. Indulgent I know.......
For a while now I’ve been starting my day with a breathing meditation as I lay in bed. It feels like a beautiful way to slowly awaken my body and mind to the day that lays ahead when I can just move from that heavy sleep mode into the steady slow conscious breath. It stops my mind from jumping straight into the doing/planning mode, and rather just gives me some time to absorb my surroundings, let my thoughts flow and focus on my breath. It is in this time that I will often set my intention (sankalpa) for the day. Some mornings are easier than others and that is why meditation is a constant practice for us all.
So by the time I do get to hold that warm cup in my hands I’m relaxed and can actually focus on what it is I’m experiencing. Feeling the cup in my hand, smelling the tea, sensing the warm steam rising on my face, noticing the sensation as the cup moves to my lips, the taste of the tea on my tongue and then gently as it flows down my throat. These sensations are all heightened because I’ve already set up my meditation with my breathing.
Remember that a simple breathing exercise you can use is to just allow your exhalation to be longer than your inhalation. You may just count to 4 on your inhalation and 4 on your exhalation, and then gently lengthen the exhalation to a count of 5, 6, 7 and beyond. When you do the vagus nerve, running from the neck to the diaphragm, sends a signal to your brain and tells it to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system and in turn, relax. When this takes control your breath slows down, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers and you begin to really soak up the beautiful power of the breath.
Combine this with breathing and your favourite cup of tea and your meditation is complete. The perfect start to my day.
Blessings to you all,