#36alive 321: STOP Meditation

Often when people think of meditation and mindfulness  they think of someone sitting cross-legged, surrounded by candles, with incense burning in the background but this doesn’t have to be the case.

A good technique I learnt at a workshop is the STOP “One Minute Breathing Space” technique; this is a great way to step out of auto pilot and in to the present moment, tuning in to what is happening right now, with no expectation of any result.

Just by remembering the word STOP was can instantly tune in.

S – Stop and take stock: bring yourself in to the present moment by asking “what is my experience right now”. Take a moment to tune in to what your thoughts are, how they make you feel and any sensations they may bring up.

T – Take a breath: rather than concentrate on deep breaths, which often leads to a sharp intake of breath, try taking slow breaths, through the nose down in to the stomach. This can help bring you in to the present moment.

O – Open and observe: expand your field of awareness outward from your breath to your body as a whole, posture, facial expression (are you clenching your jaw?), then further afield using all your senses.

P – Proceed: let your attention move to the world around you, rather than acting automatically, you can respond mindfully.

The next time you are in a situation where you feel tense, anxious, angry, or any other emotion, whether or not this a perceived positive or negative emotion, just take a minute out to STOP.

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