How to Meditate
Moving Meditation for Ultimate Zen
No wonder you’re looking for a way to de-stress—with everything you’ve packed on your plate, it’s starting to look more like a platter. “Meditation is the best way to quiet your mind, achieve clarity in your thoughts, and let go of all the things buzzing around your brain 24 hours a day,” says Kristin McGee, a certified yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. “Even if you only have five minutes to spare, a quiet moment of contemplation free of email or your phone can work wonders on stress and anxiety.” Recent studies have even found that both before and during meditation, Buddhist monks exhibit higher mental activity and heightened awareness than meditation novices. What’s more, the monks’ heightened brain activity was pinpointed to left prefrontal cortex, the area associated with happiness and positive thoughts and emotions—take that, stress! (Search: How stress affects your health)
But if you can’t sit still (or cross-legged for that matter), don’t write off meditation just yet. “There’s a common misconception that meditation has to happen for certain amount of time or at a certain place or while holding a certain position,” says McGee. “There is no right or wrong way to meditate—it’s just about bringing your mind to a single point of concentration.” And for folks who tend to fidget, focusing on slow, repetitive movements and breathing can help you find your zen, she says. “Performing the same movement over and over and paying close attention to your breath makes it much easier to clear your mind and find one point of focus—even if that focus is just on your breath.” To tap into meditation’s mind-body benefits, try these movement-meets-breathing techniques.