Here’s a 5-minute Mindfresh meditation to de-stress so you can be more productive. It’s all themed around ‘5’ for easy recall, right when you need it most.
When the mind goes into overdrive, we can’t just tell it to slow down while we figure out where to start. So, how do we get back to a place where we can actually make a smart plan of attack? We start working with what’s most accessible first — the body and breath — and then the mind starts to come back into control.
Here’s the key: the body informs the mind and vice versa. If we focus the energy in our body, we can focus the energy in our mind. And unlike the mind, we can tell our body to do something and it will respond according to that instruction.
MOVE: Try this sequence of five Jivamukti Yoga-inspired postures (standing suggested, but seated works, too), taking one deep inhale and exhale in each before moving on to the next one. This will only take a couple of minutes, so as you move through it, try to harness all of your attention into what your body is doing so it becomes “mindful movement”. Your breath and your body are your focal points – everything else is on hold, for just five minutes.
BREATHE: After you’ve finished the Mindfresh 5 Sequence, have a seat, place the palms face up on the thighs + gently close your eyes. Although eyes are closed, bring your attention to the tip of your nose, watching the breath come in and out through the nostrils. Take one deep inhale and one deep exhale. Then, begin five rounds of what is called “sama vritti”, or equal parts inhale and exhale to the count of five. Silently count, “in 2, 3, 4, 5; out, 2, 3, 4, 5.” After the fifth round, allow the breath to return to its natural rhythm and pace while keeping the eyes closed for a few more moments. Notice any difference in the body and mind – hopefully, there’s a sense of clarity and calm that wasn’t there before.
We end by flipping the palms down, taking one deep inhale and one deep exhale + standing up. We make ourselves tall + expansive by reaching up + then bring palms together to touch in front of the chest. Connecting the base of the thumbs with the sternum has a calming effect on the nervous system. The gesture of evenly pressing right hand into left symbolizes balance.
Mind is now fresh. Go conquer.
POSTURE 1: Extend the arms straight out in front of you with palms facing each other. Interlace the fingers + then flip the palms away from you. Focus on opening up the wrists + knuckles, while drawing the shoulders back into their sockets. One deep inhale + exhale.
POSTURE 2: Keeping the fingers interlaced, extend the arms up alongside the ears with palms facing toward the ceiling. Drop the shoulders to create as much space as possible between the ears and the shoulders. Feel the collarbones expanding while the shoulders are opening. One deep inhale + exhale.
POSTURE 3 (pt. 1): Keeping fingers interlaced + arms reaching up, press into both feet and lean over to the left. Notice the right side of the body lengthening. One deep inhale + exhale. Then, bring the body upright with arms reaching toward the ceiling.
POSTURE 3 (pt. 2): Pressing into both feet, lean over to the right + bring the attention to the left side of the body becoming more spacious with the stretch. One deep inhale + exhale. Come back to the center with arms reaching up.
POSTURE 4: Bend the elbows and place your interlaced hands behind the head. Once again, relax the shoulders. Open your elbows wide apart. Focus on expanding across the front of the chest + collarbones. One deep inhale + exhale. Lower the arms alongside the body.
Posture 5: Take the arms behind you + interlace the fingers. Draw the knuckles down towards the floor and notice the front of the chest opening as the shoulders draw back and towards each other. Extend the arms a few inches away from the torso, but keep the tailbone drawing down and the chin at a neutral level. One deep inhale + exhale.