Living through a pandemic can be stressful – there’s so much uncertainty, most of us have experienced a complete disruption to our daily routines and we’re constantly being updated with news of the Coronavirus. It’s a lot to take in.
So what can you do to feel calm during this strange and unpredictable time?
Practicing meditation is one way that takes little effort but shows big results in reducing your body’s stress response and improving overall health. “People think meditation is complicated and difficult and that not everyone can do it, but it is just being in the present,” says Ashish Kalode, a yoga instructor with over 15 years of experience practising meditation.
“When you close your eyes and look at every breath you take, you are in the present.”
ashish kalode, yoga instructor
“Meditation, according to me, is being aware and just being in the present. Right now, we need to be in the present because if we think about the future, it’s dark and uncertain. Similarly, thinking about the past too can be overwhelming – thinking you had a good life before this, all the things you did and thinking it’s all gone. It’s bound to create stress. So being in the present is the best thing anyone can do in this difficult time.” he says.
“And what is more appropriate than watching your breath and being aware of your breath? When you close your eyes and look at every breath you take, you are in the present. It’s that simple.”
Many Yogis believe that this is the ultimate meditation technique but there are many other ways to meditate:
- Listen to the sounds around you.
“Close you eyes and simply listen to the sounds around you. You can also create a calm environment by putting on soothing music.” This can be found on several apps available on the AppStore and Google Play.
- Sit still and watch your thoughts.
“Alienate yourself from the thoughts that come to you and just watch them. Don’t analyze them and don’t try to control them. Just watch from a bird’s eye view.”
- If you’re healthy and allowed to, go on a walk.
“You don’t necessarily have to sit in one place to meditate. You can take a slow walk outside which can help you foster mindfulness and calm your mind.”
- Omkar meditation
Om or Aum stands for awareness, understanding and meditation. It is a meditation that combines movement, role-playing, and vocal expression. “While chanting ‘Om’, listen to the vibrations in your body, listen to the sound of ‘m’ in your ears and pay attention to the breath you take between two omkars.” You can learn more about it here.
“You get different experiences with the energies flowing within your mind and body.”
“If you are trying meditation for the first time, start with a smaller time period like 5-10 minutes. With practice and consistency, you will be able to meditate for longer periods several times in the day. Don’t jump into it thinking you will do it for hours on end.” says Ashish.
“You don’t need to analyze the meditation. Some days will be easier while other days you will not find your focus. You get different experiences with the energies flowing within your mind and body. Just focus on your breath and be in the moment.”
Headspace is a popular meditation app that has released a guided meditation collection tailored specifically for the current global crisis, which can be found here. Alternatively, you can download the app on the AppStore and on Google Play.