Meg’s Mindful Meditation

18 Dec

This week, Meg Zirm provides tips and a mindful meditation practice ideal for easing yourself through the Winter Solstice and upcoming lunar eclipse.

With the annual Winter Solstice falling on the same day as the full moon and lunar eclipse this year, I want to take a look at the traditional rituals of the Winter Solstice and create a practice of mindful meditation for you.

This Tuesday the Winter Solstice will coincide with the total lunar eclipse of the full moon. This is a rare event. The last two total lunar eclipses seen from Alaska were in 2004 and 2007. The next one will occur in 2014. Depending on how clear the skies are this lunar eclipse may be visible and should last more than one hour.

The Winter Solstice marks the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere and notes when the sun is farthest south. It is a time when many feel the darkness of the days in their moods and energy levels, as well as the strain of holiday stressors.

To bring light and warmth back into your being, spend time with those you love, enjoy warm foods, and stay physically active. The lesson is one of self-preservation, preparing for the coming spring and persevering through challenging and stressful times. With the coming New Year, the Winter Solstice is also a time to look within, build inner strength, and renew. 

Eclipses are believed to be a time for great transformation through meditation. The lunar energies are magnified and more focused. Mindful meditation is a type of meditation that involves focusing on your mind in the present moment. To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judging yourself. Allowing a pause in reaction to your thoughts gives you a moment to observe yourself without judgement, and eventually to change your habitual patterns of emotional reaction and behaviors. 

Sample Mindful Meditation Practice:

1. Sit in a chair or on the floor in a quiet and comfortable place. Keep your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.

2. Focus on being in the present moment. Put aside all thoughts of the past and the future.

3. Become aware of your breathing. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly expand and contract. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.

4. Watch each thought come and go–be it a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts arise, don’t ignore or suppress them. Simply note them. Remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor.

5. If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to. Do not judge yourself. Simply return to your breathing and remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens.

6. As the meditation time comes to a close, make yourself aware of where you are. Sit for a minute or two and then get up gradually.

“Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. Just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.”

Meg Zirm teaches Pilates, yoga and ballet fusion classes in New Jersey. A student of yoga and Pilates for nearly 15 years, Meg’s teaching style has grown from her sense of body awareness, love of movement and union of body and mind. Fusing her classical training, knowledge and experience, Meg strives to empower her clients through the freedom and strength of mind-body movement. Contact Meg at mbzirm@gmail.com.

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