Keep Your Chin Up: a Fall Meditation
Cloudy fall days have you feeling down? One of the most magical parts of yoga, meditation and general healthy lifestyle habits is their ability to change your attitude. Yes! A five-minute walk, meditation or asana (yoga) practice can actually change the course of your day. And I’m here to share with you one of my favorite visualizations/meditations for cultivating a sunny mood (even when Mr. Sun is nowhere to be found).
Before I sit for my meditation, the first step in the process of lightening up is to remind myself that I am not alone in feeling a little down and lethargic in the shortening fall days. Up to 10% of individuals will experience SAD (seasonal affective disorder) this fall - and it is most prevalent in northern climates where there is less daytime sunshine. For me, it is comforting to know that others experience this emotional shift as well, and it helps me to take action to actively combat it when the first signs of SAD appear. And now, the meditation..
Fall Meditation for Lightness of Being:
Find a comfy place to sit where your body does not feel any aches or pains. Choose a pillow on the floor, edge of your bed or a comfortable chair. Rest your hands palm-up or down on the tops of your knees/thighs. It is important that your back is straight and your sitting bones have a solid resting spot.
Now.. follow these three steps for bliss:
On the inhale, tense all the muscles of your body. Curl your hands into fists and squeeze tightly. On the exhale, release - letting your fists uncurl and your body to relax. Do this three times, the last time letting your body fully relax.
Sitting in your relaxed posture, spine straight, think of a time and place when you felt total joy. Bring this image to mind and explore it. Where were you, what made you feel this way and how exactly did the joy feel in your mind and body. Meditate on this state of being.
Let go of this image, while holding onto the sensation of joy. Recognize that you are the source of this joy. Recognize that this joy resides inside you at all times. Rest in this state of joyful awareness.
This meditation can be practiced for any length of time. If you only have five minutes, feel free to set a timer with a peaceful alarm that will let you know when to wrap up. If you have a bit more time, or are seeking to build a sustained meditation practice, I recommend starting with five minutes and increasing each time you sit by two minutes, working your way to a twenty or thirty minute seated meditation.
Try it out and let me know how it goes! And may your fall be warm, cozy and joy-filled.