Mind & Body

Meditate for Energy

The key to life-long vitality is calming the mind and body.
Meditate for Energy
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According to Ayurveda principles, if you're a vata dosha (to discover your dosha, click here), you tend to be energetic, creative, and playful—unless you're out of balance. Then you pay a high price for all that energy. Under stress, you get anxious, have insomnia, and develop irregularities in your sleeping and eating. The key to creating balance is calming your mind and body through relaxation and meditation. "We use a simple visualization exercise," says Jay Apte, B.A.M.S., director of the Ayurvedic Institute of America. "One that uses the body as a point of focus so it's grounding practice, rather than an abstract one." Here's the simple practice she prescribes; do it for 20 minutes each day, or whenever you can:

1. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, hands on knees. Close your eyes, and begin to pay attention to the breath. With each inhalation, allow your belly to balloon outward; with each inhalation, pull it actively in.

2. Slowly begin to lengthen your exhalations. Focus your attention entirely on the tip of your nose as you do this. Feel the vibrations of the breath. If the mind wanders, return your focus to the tip of the nose and to the sensations you're experiencing there as the breath moves in and out.

3. After several breaths, move your attention to the tip of the right middle finger. As you breath, feel warmth growing in the fingertip. Observe this one spot on your body with a calm and tranquil mind. Your mind is completely present with that spot—it is your safety zone. It is your anchor in the present.

4. As you relax, think only of the breath and this moment. Notice that as your mind wanders, you don't feel the warming, tingling vibrations of the breath. Return to the present moment, to the tip of the right finger and breathe. Be aware of your nose, your finger, and your body—that is all you have to do. That is the secret to life.

5. To end the meditation, return your attention to the nose. Take a few more deep breaths, open your eyes, and pause for a moment before continuing with your day.