Meditation and the art of staying calm amid the chaos

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Christmas is usually full of joy and warmth – family celebrations, wrapping gifts, cooking up a storm and entertaining friends and neighbours. As fun as it is, all of that busy activity can take a toll on your energy and patience. Especially if you are also wrangling excited kids at the same time!

 Meditation is a proven cure-all for releasing stress, helping you to feel more grounded and giving your mind the much-needed quiet time it needs.

 As a yogi, you’ve probably used meditation in your practice but have you tried it as a regular part of your daily routine? Just 10 minutes twice a day can make a significant impact to your mood and general well-being. If you’ve felt intimidated by incorporating meditation into your life on a consistent basis, here’s what has worked for me.

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 Start your practice first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. All you need is 10 minutes and a confortable seat with your back supported. As soon as I wake up, I do a few stretches and then sit up comfortably against a couple of pillows. I'm warm and cozy wrapped in my blankets and my legs are either extended straight or crossed, whichever feels best to me in the moment. I simply close my eyes and pay attention to my breath, in and out. When thoughts enter my mind (as they inevitably do), I passively let them go and refocus on my breath. It’s quiet, it’s dark and because I’ve just woken up, I haven’t yet started the busyness of my day so quieting my mind isn’t too much of a struggle.

 When 10 minutes is up (yes, I peek at the clock occasionally, or you can use the timer feature on your phone) I stop noticing my breath and do a few more stretches. I’m now ready to get on with my day. That’s it!

 If I can, I will also do another 10 minutes later on in the day, perhaps at lunchtime or right after work. I do not meditate before bed as I find the practice energizing. There are some sleep meditations out there but I find my simple practice of 10 minutes once or twice a day is helping me sleep very well anyway.

 The biggest impact I have noticed since starting a meditation practice (besides having great sleeps!) is my ability to remain calm amid chaos this holiday season. Whether that’s a packed grocery store, waiting in line at the post office or navigating a crowded parking lot, my stress level is pretty low.

 So give it a try! Not only will it help you through the holidays but it’s a great way to start a brand new year too.