All of us have little tricks for staying on track and keeping our lives relaxed and happy. But sometimes when too many things are going on, and the pace never lets up, a pause really can make life more enjoyable.
Stop to pause and make way for time alone and clear-mindedness.
When the mind clears, energy rebuilds and suddenly the pace seems fine as we jump back into our regular routines. Pauses come in many varieties and become simple meditations when practiced regularly. Your pause could be as easy as having a cup of tea or cold drink on your patio. Or it could be Tai Chi, yoga, mindful meditation or walking. Just remind yourself to use them when life gets too busy.
Whatever you choose, you might find, like I do, that a simple meditation is like a pause between musical notes. The author of my favorite book on meditation, Dr. David Kundtz’s “Stopping,” says this pause gives life to the notes. The notes are all of our activities. But they need a meaningful pause to define them. The pause lets us stop, breathe deeply and release all of the accumulated stress and tension that gets stored up. Kundtz says meditation shows you “how to be still when you have to keep going.” Here are some samples of how it works for me.
Tai Chi in the Park is a once a week hour among friends
We meet on an outdoor theater platform surrounded by eucalyptus trees. Often tai chi classes use music, but just the breeze in the trees work here. Our instructor is a veteran tai chi teacher who easily pulls us into the rhythms. Tai Chi can be a vertical yoga teaching you balance and relaxation with simple hand, arm and leg movements. It’s easy to get started and quite addictive. Many of the people have been doing Tai Chi for years and it is easy to see why if you watch a class.
Yoga for me happens at the local gym on Monday nights
I have a favorite instructor who has a big following. When it is working best for me, is the minute I settle onto the mat, and my tension and worries drop away. Yoga has many forms and fits people of all ages. If you have not tried it, stop by a yoga studio or gym and watch a class. As the music comes up and the lights dim the movements bring the mind and body together.
As a sample this upside down relaxation pose is an easy one to try. Sit facing a wall with your bottom about six inches away. Lie back and stretch your legs up the wall. Adjust the position so you feel comfortable and rest your arms by your sides, palms up. Breathe slowly and feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Try this pose when you need to relax. Once you find the magic in meditation you will want to try more. Try a class or fashion your own and see what happens.
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