By: Lucia Cucinotta
Director of Community, Anjali Power Yoga
Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out and I am sure you will already feel a sense of ease. The key of meditation is breath. Allowing yourself the opportunity to breathe helps relax the body, decrease tensions, and help the mind process. Meditation can be an easy, affordable and effective way to reduce the stress and tension caused from being a transplant caregiver. If you simply take 3 to 5 minutes of your day on the below meditation exercise, you can make meditation a healthy life habit.
Find a seat
Sit on the floor, sit on a chair, you can even stand. Finding your seat is finding a place where you can take a few minutes to clear your mind. If you are lucky to find a quiet space, go there. If not, see if you can face a wall or blank space to avoid visual distractions. You can find your seat anywhere, even in your car, the point is to find a space where you can be. If you have a timer on your phone, set it now for 3 to 5 minutes.
If you are sitting, press your sit bones into the ground, lengthen your spine, and bring your shoulders up and back. You want to feel grounded to the earth so you can press down to lengthen and straighten your spine. Engaging your lower core (abs) will help keep your spine long and strait. You can fold your legs or keep them long in front of you. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs, palms facing up if you need to feel lifted and palms facing down if you need to feel grounded.
Close your eyes
To focus inward for a few moments you must shut your mind from what is going on outside of you. As you close your eyes you will feel your seat shift as your body gets used to this new focus. Avoid squeezing your eyes shut. Close your eyes with ease and begin to relax your face.
Focus on your breath
Begin to take deep breaths by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your nose. Start with a 3-count inhale and 3-count exhale until you build to a 5-count inhale and a 5-count exhale (ex: breathe in deeply and count to 3 in your head, breathe out slowly and count to 3 in your head). When you reach the 5-count inhale and 5-count exhale, imagine the sounds of your breath are waves of the ocean. Touch the ground or wiggle your toes to feel the sand. Smell the salt air. Perhaps even begin to hear the seagulls. Keep your eyes closed, focus on the center of your forehead, and keep your 5 count inhale and 5 count exhale. Envision the sun as it rises over the horizon in front of you. Allow the colors to paint the sky of your mind. When the sunrise reaches its most radiant point (or when the timer goes off), open your eyes. Sit there for a moment and allow yourself to feel the new sense of ease that has washed over your body and mind.
Make it a habit
You can do this simple meditation exercise for 3 to 5 minutes or more. Remember, some say it only takes 18 days to form a habit. If you can take 3 to 5 minutes out of your day, every day, for 18 days, you can make meditation a healthy life habit!
For more resources and ideas on reducing stress, please visit our Caregiver Lifeline Program webpage at www.GiftofLifeFamilyHouse.org.