As more and more businesses begin to re-open and schools are set to restart our lives may be changing again or even be speeding up. Is this something that we want to do?
This may be a good opportunity to check our internal speedometer and decide what speed we would like to be travelling at. How do we control the speed? How do we slow down if we want to?
Phil's teacher used to say, 'If you give yourself time then you have all the time in the world.'
How do we give ourselves time in between all the other tasks of the day or just find time in between all the thoughts that may be rushing around our heads?
In Tai Chi, we use a simple breathing exercise to practise pausing and slowing down. We can enjoy this exercise anytime, anywhere. We can do it this seated or standing or even lying down if we are at home.
Ideally, step outdoors to really reap the benefits of this exercise that has its roots in meditations practised over 2000 years ago in ancient China. It could be a favourite place in your garden for instance, or a park, or any open space that resonates with you.
You may like to begin by observing trees, clouds, plants and listen to the birds for a couple of moments. Just watching and enjoying the sights and sounds. Being in green spaces can help reduce high blood pressure. Observing nature moving more slowly can help us find a different pace from rushing traffic and computers.
Following the traditional instructions in tai chi regarding the breath, let your breathing feel smooth, refined and continuous. A saying suggests our breath feels like drawing a single thread of silk from a cocoon.
Then we take time to observe the breath and any sensations that may come up. We follow the natural changes that occur as the breath comes in and goes out. We may feel like closing our eyes for a while to really feel the coming and going.
"This creates a new spaciousness in the mind enabling us to think and see more clearly so that we are better able to focus on the things that really matter."
Dr Tamara Russell, 2015. Mindfulness In Motion. Watkins Media, London.
Why not try it just before settling down to sleep as part of your calming bedtime routine.
Once you get into a routine with this simple exercise you won't even need to use your hands as cues. You can visualise those touchpoints in your mind's eye and follow your natural breath cycle.
If we can find just one minute to slow down, hit the pause button, and find breathing space, we give ourselves time and then we have all the time in the world.
Music: I Need To Start Writing Things Down by Chris Zabriskie