Here are some meditation techniques or exercises that can be slipped inconspicuously into your day in short intervals either at the office or anywhere else. Just in a minute or two of meditation our of each hours can build profound momentum towards peace of mind in daily life.
Try some of the following exercises during down times at work or just take a break for a minute or two every hour.
The Inner Smile Meditation
The Inner Smile is used in both Buddhist and Taoist circles. Some Taoists use it to relax before meditation. Close your eyes and smile at your forehead in the same way that you would smile to another person.
It may not feel genuine at first but, with practice, your ability to do this will increase. Smile at your jaw and feel it relax. Repeat the process for other parts of your body.
Meditation is the art of concentrating on one thing as well as the art of being present with experience, emotions and thoughts as they occur. Take some deep breaths without worrying about how you’re breathing. Take note of how you’re breathing. Close your eyes or keep them partially open so that they are looking into the body space and focusing on nothing in particular in the external world.
Fall in love with the breath. Take note whether it’s calm, erratic, shallow, deep, etc. Relax into the breath. Don’t worry about how well you’re concentrating. You are training the mind to concentrate with no expectations.
When the mind wanders and thoughts or emotions come up, take note of them. You can use the word “thinking” or “angry”. Let them be. Give them the space to be what they are. Then, gently guide your attention back to the breath. This is a great office meditation.
Diaphragmatic breathing has a calming effect on the mind and the body. It can be integrated into meditation with great results.
Notice that when you’re stressed or in an uncomfortable situation, your breath becomes naturally restricted. This is the ego’s way of shutting down feeling and experience. Proper diaphragmatic breathing tends to reverse this trend. Letting go of stress becomes much easier when it becomes a habit.
Breathe through the nose. Imagine your abdomen as a balloon. You should feel like the balloon is pushing out in all directions – into your spine in back of the navel, into your groin and toward the rib cage. Let your balloon fill. Exhale deeply.
If you have troubles breathing this way, then focus on completely emptying your lungs on the exhale. The next inhale will naturally be deeper.
If you make diaphragmatic breathing your normal breathing habit, you will reap wonderful results. It will also make all these other exercises easier.
Body Scan Meditation
The body scan is another great office meditation. Eyes can be open or closed just like in the breath meditation. Instead of the breath, the object of focus here is the sensation in various portions of your body. You can start with the feet and work your way up or you can start with the head. We’ll begin with the feet.
Relax and take a few deep breaths. The only thing that exists are the sensations in your feet. Do this for a full minute. Relax into the sensations of the feet. You will notice sensations you aren’t normally used to experiencing as well as a deep relaxation.
Just like in the breath office meditation, take note of thoughts and emotions as the mind wanders. Then, go back to the feet. At least at home, you can repeat the process for calves, knees, things, groin, butt, belly, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, jaw, back of head and forehead. As an office meditation, you may just have to pick one or two body parts.
Ujjayi Pranayama Breathing Technique
Ujjayi Pranayama is a Yoga breathing exercise that brings very profound relaxation to the mind and body. Insomniacs often use it to prepare for sleep. It destresses everything in amazing ways, nourishes the brain and prepares the mind and body for deep meditation.
Ujjayi can also become an office meditation technique in itself with the object of focus being the breath. In such a case, you can take note of thoughts as the mind wanders just like in the other office meditation techniques.
It would take forever to explain the technique in this article. However, instructions for the complete and thorough way of performing this exercise are available at The Ujjayi Breathing Technique Page.
Do you have a favorite waterfall or other nature spot from childhood? If not, just imagine one. Relax and take a few deep breaths first. Then, visualize the calming scenery. Perhaps you prefer Jesus or a spiritual figure for this.
Make this the object of focus in your office meditation. Work with thoughts and emotions in the same way you would in the other techniques. It builds peaceful equanimity.
The Integrating Breath is a breathing technique and a great office meditation. Inhale through the nose diaphragmatically and honor yourself. The blessings are following the breath into the deepest recesses of your being. Exhale through the nose and honor your environment and the people in it.
Become absorbed in this activity. “Feel” everyone being lifted up and filled with blessings. This breath becomes an excellent office meditation if you do it with mindfulness.
Stretching is not necessarily a meditation, but it helps to bring you into the present moment and back into your body. Many people use stretching for its “mind expanding” and calming properties to prepare for meditation.
First, take a few deep breaths and “feel” inside your body space. If anything needs stretching, stretch it. If you’re stumped, you can begin by stretching out your arms. Take three or seven deep breaths through the nose during your stretch, then release.
Head Rolls and Shoulder Rolls
Like stretching, head rolls and shoulder rolls limber up the joints, bring you into the body and make deep stress relief and successful office meditation easier to achieve.
Chanting is the singing of a repeated mantra or a phrase. It can be any word, phrase or line you want it to be. As an office meditation, a chant can be silently repeated. Make the chant your object of focus and practice the equanimity training when thoughts come up.
Some people love to Om. If you fit that profile, use Om as an office meditation and chant. Om brings profound peace and touches places within that other things might not reach. Surrender to the vibration as you chant it. You can also Om silently instead of physically.
The act of being deeply present with other people can be an office meditation. You don’t have to close your eyes for this one. Take a few diaphragmatic breaths or just take note of however you’re breathing. Defocus your eyes so that they focus on nothing in particular. The eyes are “feeling inside” the body while looking outward in an all encompassing way.
Feel the people you are interacting with or who just happen to be nearby. See how you’re breathing is affected in any given situation. Take note of all thoughts and emotions that happen. Be detached from the thoughts and just observe them.
This article is by Tom Von Deck, who is a meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He is the Mackdaddy of The Deeper Meditation Blog and DeeperMeditation.net