Mindfulness Isn't Just About Breathing
People like to put a lot of rules around meditation and mindfulness. Some believe you have to meditate with your eyes closed, sitting cross-legged on the floor, and in this case there's probably some kind of mantra involved.
But I don't believe that. In fact, some people are more comfortable meditating with their eyes open. And others, whether it's because of comfort or physical ability, meditate lying down.
I encourage my students to find what best fits them. Maybe it's easier for them to meditate in a recliner or in their bed. Some of my students like to use to what's called "soft eyes,” where they choose something in front of them to look at and relax their focus, rather than closing their eyes.
Although the traditional way to meditate or do mindfulness is to focus on the breath, there are many other ways to meditate.
1. While you're walking, slow down. Focus on your feet touching the ground and how the breeze feels on your face. Doing this for just a couple minutes a day is a form of mindfulness.
2. When you reach a red light, use that minute to take several deep breaths. You could make this a family habit.
3. At your next meal, really pay attention to what you're eating. Take slow, deliberate bites. Try to taste all of the flavors in the food.
4. Go outside. Find a tree, flower, bush, or bird. You could even look up at the clouds. Take five minutes to focus only on the tree or flower. Notice its texture, color, and smell.
All of these are ways to simply build mindfulness into your day. They are just as valid and useful as sitting for 20 minutes repeating a mantra. Each of these activities brings you to the present moment and helps you focus on just one thing — and that is what any mindfulness practice is trying to accomplish.