When anyone thinks of meditating, the first image that comes to mind is someone sitting on the ground, thumb and index fingers gently pressed together, with their eyes closed in a very calm and serene place. It's a common misconception that meditation needs to be done sitting on the ground cross-legged. You can actually meditate anywhere and at anytime. It's up to you how well you can block out external thoughts - all you need to do is close your mind and just be in the moment.
To be honest, I find it hard to meditate, even though I'm a qualified yoga instructor. And believe it or not, Savasana (the corpse pose) is one of the hardest yoga poses to do during practice. It looks easy lying there, but being able to close your thoughts and not fall asleep is super hard.
Here, I've compiled five places where you never thought you could meditate - so now you can go about your day even more inclined to free your mind. Meditation actually allows your body to rest more deeply than in your deepest sleep. Just 20 minutes of meditation can equal eight hours of a good sleep. So even if you can only manage a few of the below, you're on the right path to giving your mind a break so it can recharge with better clarity and higher productivity.
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1. Over breakfast
Yes you heard right! Anyone can do this one. Next time you're eating your brekkie at a café, don't talk to your neighbour or friend. Put away your phone and laptop. Now, take a bite of your dish and think about how good the food tastes in your mouth. Savour those sensations and indulge in the moment as those delicious flavours go through your body.
2. During lunch
Lining up for a sandwich at your local café? Stop looking at your watch and phone. Put it all away. Now, just stand there and gently close your eyes. Take a deep breath in, hold it, drop your chin down, feel the oxygen inside your lungs expand to the outer edges of your lungs, then feel the oxygen's energy gently expand to your shoulders, fingertips, crown of your head and then to your feet. Raise your chin and gently exhale all the air. Now open your eyes.
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3. At work
Are you at your desk or computer feeling super stressed just looking at your inbox? Minimise all your screens to the menu bar so your desktop is blank. Close your eyes, focus on your breath filling up your entire body, take a deep Ujjayi breath through your nose whilst contracting your throat (you should be breathing through your throat) and count to five. Then exhale (with your mouth closed) through your nose and throat again as you count to five. Repeat this 10 times. Remember to try and feel the air passing through your throat. Now open your eyes.
4. While runnng
It's called moving meditation: when you're running and you're in a rhythm where everything feels like you're on a cloud. Nothing hurts, you can feel the air on your skin, you can smell the trees and grass, hear the birds chirping and feel the sun's rays warming your skin. You're smiling and your heart is beating in tune with your breath. Running never felt better!
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5. Post-workout shower
Next time you're taking a shower, close your eyes. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Keep your hands down by your sides, palms facing outwards. Now feel the droplets on your skin, on your lips, on your feet. What does it feel like? The warmth, the gentle pitter patter massaging your skin - this should help to still your mind.