This week, meditation teacher Kristine Coblentz, shares a few thoughts as she gets ready to share her love of meditation with the Los Alamos community at Yoga with Jacci’s studio. Courtesy photo

Los Alamos

Fall is in the air. Our rhythms change as the days become shorter and impact how we navigate the routines of work and school and everyday life. Seasonal transitions can be challenging and result in extra stress and worry. Here are two simple practices for when life feels overwhelming, or equally important, for pausing to soak in the positive.

Box Breathing can help settle the nervous system when you are feeling stressed or anxious. This practice requires our mind to focus on the simple act of counting while we breathe deeply which can ease racing thoughts and bring on a sense of calm focus. Slowing down the breaths cues the body’s relaxation response to move us from fight or flight to a more restful state.

How to: Pause wherever you are and find a place seated or lying down where your spine can be long, making room for your breath. Begin to feel yourself breathing in and out. Take a few deep, conscious breaths, inhaling and exhaling through the nose if possible. Exhale completely. On your next inhale, begin to count from one to four, allowing the breath to fill your torso. Hold your breath for the count of four. Exhale slowly for the count of four. Hold empty for a count of four. Repeat for a few rounds. Pause, breathe naturally, and notice how you are feeling in your body, your mind, and your emotions.

If focusing on the breath and counting is difficult, try using your pointer finger to trace a square on a flat surface such as a table or the palm of your hand. Feel the sensation of tracing and the contact with the surface as you count in for four, hold for four, release the breath for four, and hold for four again. If four counts is too long, start with counting to three.

Sensory Outings combine mindfulness with movement and invite us to experience the world through all of our senses. Mindful movement helps us slow down and notice all that is around us and everything we have to be grateful for.

How to: Choose a pace and a route where you can become completely absorbed in the experience of moving along a path or trail. Begin by noting things that you can feel – the sun or the breeze, the temperature of the air, your contact with the surface beneath you. What are you able to see? Gradations of color, light and shadow, shapes and patterns. Bring your attention to the sounds all around you – near and far. Sounds that arise and pass away, sounds that repeat, sounds loud and quiet. Finally, breathe in through your nose and take in the smells of the season. Crisp air, changing leaves, and migrating birds make Fall an especially interesting time for a sensory stroll. Pause and note the beauty all around.

Simple mindfulness techniques, when practiced regularly, can help us increase focus and attention, manage stress and anxiety, improve health and wellbeing, and enjoy life. By gathering in community to practice, we find connection and encouragement on the path.

Community Meditation Practice will begin weekly 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 at the Yoga with Jacci Studio. Each session will focus on a topic and include time for guided practice, questions and discussion. Participants will receive weekly email reminders.

Visit for more information.

Box breathing and sensory outings are techniques to help de-stress, slow down and just enjoy life. Courtesy photo

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