In her interview with PsychAlive Senior Editor Lisa Firestone, Dr. Donna Rockwell describes one little meditation that people can do all day. Watch or read the interview below.
I’m just going to show you how to do one sort of short meditation that you can do anywhere. And what you can do is you can go sit in a room, just find a spot, close your eyes, put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, close your eyes and you just be with your breath as it arises and falls away.
So you can feel your chest rise as your breath comes in and as the breath goes out, you can feel the chest and the belly recede and it’s like a wave. You just simply allow the palms of your hands to ride the breath in—out. And you’re really connecting with your being, with your personhood, with your aliveness as you feel this breath filling your body, expanding and then releasing. And then you just open your eyes. It’s really like a self-hug in a way, isn’t it? So we’re actually holding ourselves, we’re connecting. We’re not living from here up anymore. Now we’re grounded and whole.
The other thing you can do with that meditation practice is simply sit there like that and count backwards in your head from 5 through 0 on the out breath. I learned this at Harvard Medical School. So you just close your eyes and on the out breath you count 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0. And then when you open your eyes, you’re more present. It works. And it’s so simple.
Five breaths, actually six, if you count zero. So, and what that does is that really stops the discursiveness because you can’t be thinking a million thoughts while you’re counting. So those are two really simple mindfulness practices that people can do all through the day that have nothing to do with the formal sitting practice. Not to take any value away from that because that’s so important, too. But this is how we can regulate our own physiology all through the day, so we can be more mindful and present and alive and filled with sympathetic joy.