You're right, this is an old photo! No wandering the trails of Sorrento for me right now. Nope! Staying home...
But one of the delightful hidden benefits of this time, is I am giving to myself more.
Before it seemed I never had enough "extra" time to meditate!
Of course I know that's not actually true.
We have all the time in the world we need to do the things that matter most to us.
It is more a matter of priority. Time Management. Organization.
Well, the Lockdown has been my royal excuse to spend more time in meditation.
For Alexander students (me included) that means starting with a straight spine and noticing my breathing. Sometimes I sit on a yoga block with my legs crossed into half lotus position, and other times I just sit on my cozy overstuffed chair with my legs pulled up. The spine still stays straight, but it is more comfortable, and that is my goal; relaxation, meditation, and being in a mindful state for period of between 10-20 minutes.
There is no "right" or formal way to meditate. Mostly we are bringing awareness to the body, and allowing the mind to relax so that our attention can go within. This intention is often the only thing you need to bring to your practice, that and looking for ease.
This is one of the great teachings of the Alexander Technique too, looking for ease in the body/mind. And maybe I would add "Breath". We are breathing, living beings with tremendous capacity for awareness and expansion. Some call this the field of consciousness. Yes. But meditation can also be simple, with no plans and no agenda.
So I like to start just noticing my ease. How are the shoulders doing? Can I let go of my belly a little bit more? Is there any tension in the legs? Where do I feel ease in this moment? Can I let go of my tongue, my jaw? Where do I feel the body pressing into the chair or block? Let the mind and body sink down, make a connection to the ground.
Then to begin to follow the breath in and out, sensing the rising and falling of the ribs, feeling the relaxation of the shoulders and belly. Deep breath in and deep breath out. Eyes open, face creating a gentle inner smile. Breathe...
Now to close the eyes, and notice the breath. Bring the mind there, and if the mind wanders off, gently bring it back to the breath. If the mind wanders off, which it will, bring it back again.
Let some time go by, count the breaths 1 through 10 and back to one again, if that feels good, otherwise, just notice the breathing in and out. Let things be. Keep going for awhile, and when you are ready, start to come out of the meditation by noticing the sounds around you, then noticing the body once again pressing against the surface you are on, and when you are ready, just open your eyes and go about your day.
A moment of ease, noticing this, sometimes is all it takes to shift your emotional energy and bring you to a better state of optimism and health.