“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Try beginning your day with a short morning meditation. It’s a wonderful way of fostering a sense of inner-stability and taking it out into the day, with all its individual ups and downs.
The first technique outlined here, “Sama Vritti” or “Equal Breathing,” is an ancient yogic breath practice. The second, “Full-Body Breathing” is drawn from the Taoist tradition.
If you don’t find either of the two practices particularly well-suited to you, our meditation for beginners guide has links to numerous meditations all outlined in simple article format (similar to this article).
Benefits of Morning Meditation
- Sets the emotional tone for the rest of the day. Calm will be that much easier to maintain if you’re already relaxed and centered.
- Decreases any anxiety you may have about forthcoming events.
- It will help you feel more connected to your colleagues.
- Sama Vritti (technique #1) has been demonstrated to increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for healing and rejuvenation when done to a count of five. This variation is known as “Coherent Breathing.”
- Full-Body Breathing (technique #2) has both a calming and energizing effect, perfect for a morning practice.
Technique #1 (Sama Vritti/Equal Breathing)
- Seat yourself comfortably and close your eyes.
- Rest your awareness for a few moments on the bodily sensations of your breathing, in and out.
- As you inhale, gently count to five. Repeat for the exhale. (Breathing in, two, three, four, five; breathing out, two, three, four, five.)
- Repeat for as long as you wish. If you become short of breath, simply use a lower number.
Technique #2 (Full Body Breath)
- This technique is practiced standing. Remember: everything should be done softly.
- Breathing in, feel that you are drawing energy up through your feet, that it flows up along your legs and spine and out of the crown of your head.
- Breathing out, imagine your breath beginning at your head, flowing down along your spine and legs, and out into the earth through your feet.
- Find a rate and a speed with which you are comfortable.
- Finding time in the morning can be a struggle. We’ve usually got lots of things to do before rushing out to work. Practicing whilst traveling (on the tube, train or bus) can be a beneficial habit to foster. “Coherent breathing” can be done anywhere without drawing attention. Equally, if you’re driving, setting aside two or three minutes after you’ve parked is an option.
- Because you’re fresh in the morning, settling your attention can be difficult. Some of the more active meditations (like full-body breathing and the one demonstrated by Kim Eng below) can “short-circuit” this issue.
- Bear in mind that you’re looking for the right balance of calming and energizing effects from your morning meditation. Both the techniques outlined here will provide that balance.
- Remember to try these techniques with a playful attitude, there’s no right or wrong!
- You may wish to include a short affirmation at the end of your meditation. Something like the meditation quote from Thich Nhat Hanh above.
Further Reading (And Watching)
For more information about “Coherent Breathing” visit Drs. Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg’s website.
Kim Eng Guided Meditation
This practice from Kim Eng (Eckhart Tolle’s partner) is one of my all-time favorites!
Image credit: Misty Morning by MCLC Books