washing away your worries - a simple meditation

I teach people every day to be mindful, present, calm, but sometimes I feel like I don't focus on this enough for myself! For years the ocean was my meditation - whilst everyone else was paddling around trying to catch a wave I'd often just sit on my board staring at the horizon. So now that I don't have the ocean to sit in so freely I have taken to baths. I know, it sounds weird!

Sometimes it's hard to find time for ourselves, especially time to be quiet and still. There is always so much going on and  a never ending list of things to do! However, we always find time (I hope) to wash. This has become my sanctuary. So here is my little bath time mindful meditation:

Run a bath. Add some epsom salts/oils/bubble bath. Shut the door. Put some music on if the house is noisy. Get in the bath. Close your eyes....

Take a few deep breaths, just noticing how your belly moves as you breathe. Don't try to change anything, just notice it. You can place your hands on your belly if it helps. 

Bring your attention to your rib cage, noticing how it moves with each breath. Just follow that rise and fall, noticing if it makes the water ripple around you slightly.

Bring your awareness to your upper chest, noticing how that moves as you breathe. Again don't try to change it, just acknowledge it.

Slowly start to focus on deepening your breath. You can place one hand on your belly and one on your chest and just see if you can breathe a little more into the hand on your belly. 

Then bring your attention to the water. How does it feel against your skin? Can you feel it moving gently? Start to notice that movement a little more, following the flow of your breath through the movement of the water on your body. 

With each exhale just let yourself sink a little deeper into your bath. Allow your shoulders to melt a little. Perhaps hold your nose and bring your face under the water. Or just submerge your ears so the sound is more muffled. See if you can tune into the sound of the water moving, perhaps the tap dripping, maybe notice noise from your house in the distance.

Let those sounds drift away as you focus back in to your breath. Just notice the rise and fall, the movement of your body. Lengthen your exhale sligthly so that you are breathing deeply and fully. 

Slowly again start to notice the feeling of the water against your body. Notice the sounds of the water, the room, your surroundings. Gently start to open your eyes. 

Just 5 minutes of 'mindfulness' a day has been proven in a number of research studies to help us feel happpier and more resilient. Studies are also beginning to unravel the concept of neuroplasticity and the idea that we can train our brain to be calmer. In the same way that you may work on your body in the gym, take some time to give your mind a workout (or de-workout!)