Relax with these simple practices for inner peace

Think you need an hour a day to meditate or it’s not worth your time? Or you want to begin a meditation or mindfulness practice but aren’t sure where to start? Then you’re in the right place.

I spent most of my life leading an “all or nothing” approach to pretty much everything I did. If I liked something or even if I just thought something was “good for me”, I would do it. A lot. Even if I knew they were bad for me, but I liked it, well, yeah, still did it. A LOT. What? I know. Don’t ask. I’ll save those issues for another post.

I’ve learned a lot over the years and one of my favorite things that I have only recently discovered is moderation. Yes, it’s easy to say but how do you implement it? Well, I’ll give you a secret. It’s not by using willpower like you might expect. It actually happened for me when I started seeing things as they truly were. Was this choice I was making congruent with the life I wanted to lead or not? From there, and here’s the key; I relaxed. I started letting go of having such rigid limits and regulations on myself. I let go of some of the things that identified me because they were no longer serving me.

I had to find moderation with with my new love for a different approach to my yoga practice. I took my yoga practice off my mat and onto my meditation cushion. And I relaxed. I decided I didn’t need to sit quietly every day for an hour but that I would strive for ten minutes a day plus add in some things I enjoyed that would help me set intentions as well as reflect on what was and wasn’t working in my life. This has brought so much more clarity to my life and my purpose and has brought more awareness and acceptance toward myself.

My favorite meditative exercises

Journal writing: Get a beautiful journal or notebook that speaks to you. Every day, at least Monday through Friday, write five or more things you are grateful for and why. Remember to write thank you for each blessing. This will help to bring the feeling of gratitude into your heart and will help bring more positive changes into your reality.

Chanting: Ok so I LOVE music. I love listening to it and making it. Singing is my favorite and I’ve been doing it for fun since I was little. Chanting is just singing mantras. Mantras are like affirmations. They’ll bring different energetic affects into your life. You don’t need to be great and if singing just doesn’t do it for you, you can just say your favorite mantra for five or more minutes.

Breathing: Sound too easy? Well, it is! And that’s the point. Finding ways to de-stress shouldn’t stress you out! Start with unequal breathing; making your exhales 1-2 counts longer than you inhale. Try inhaling for 4-5 counts and exhaling to 6-7 counts. Breathe in and out of the nose, if possible, and draw the breath up towards the diaphragm, filling the lungs and letting the chest and ribs expand and soften with the breath.

Rock Exercise: Yeah, you read that right. Find a rock that calls to you. Maybe you can go to a park this weekend and walk on a trail or to a nearby river or creek. Look for a small rock that speaks to you, one you can fit in your palm. Once you find this rock, set it by your bedside and every time you look at it, think of a few things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. Start to watch as more of these things start coming into your life!

About The Author: Crystal Gray is a passionate advocate for self-healing. Through customized, private yoga sessions, tailor-made yoga videos and an online library of yoga classes, she helps those that are struggling to keep their head above water. Crystal is 200 RYT since 2006. In the years since she opened her yoga studio, completed her 500 hour training and has led yoga teacher trainings and retreats. She owns an organic vegetable farm with her husband, Marty, and together, they have a 6 year old daughter, Aya.