by S.S. Shiva Singh Khalsa, E-RYT 500
• Bring mindfulness to your meeting
• Be present through breath
• Relate to your thoughts and others better
The nice thing about some trends is that they become the norm. Meditation is a trend, just notice the many advertisements or billboards for health-related businesses and products. Fortunately, meditation is one of those trends that is sticking around.
A very common term used to describe the most basic approach to meditation is mindfulness — stepping outside your mind’s thought process and becoming more aware of your surroundings.
For 12 years, I was on the road as a sales rep with a large territory that required regular travel. I also attended and organized scores of tradeshows, sales presentations, and meetings. I began including daily meditation and yoga to keep me healthy, happy, and productive. It was essential, like brushing my teeth, to clear up the stressors embedded in my mind and body. Frankly, missing a late-night TV show was always worth the extra time spent on meditation, either before bed or first thing in the morning.
Body Follows the Mind, the Mind Follows the Breath
In my decades of teaching people how to relax and focus, the one constant is how valuable it is learning to use the breath to alter moods and gain control of our minds. Consider ‘natural breathing’ in which the exhale pulls the navel in towards the spine and on the inhale ribs expand, with the belly relaxing to allow the diaphragm to flatten and the breath is drawn in more deeply. Likely not how you breathe, correct? It is known as Diaphragmatic Breathing, in which singers are trained. Well, you’ll see this can be a game changer; more energy, focus, and sense of control all in conscious breathing.
The Mind is Largely Automatic
The mind constantly produces thoughts and because it can imagine anything, it feels vast, but it is limited by its functionality. The process looks like this — First our mind determines if there is danger, or risk. Then it looks at the polarity, seeking gratification. It keeps going back and forth trying to figure out what is right or wrong — Meditation creates a still point, in a way saying, “hold on,” stopping the push and pull of the thoughts and making a decision that leads to action. The objective of meditation is not to stop the mind from doing its job but to change how we relate to our thoughts.
Every Event Must Have a Clear Beginning and Clear End
Prior to an event, staff and participants have traveled, possibly were stuck in traffic, perhaps had an annoying argument, or typically, some last-minute prep. The success of an event is having all that ‘baggage’ not just stowed, but the effects of those stressors minimized. Meditation is a great tool for getting everyone on the same page, whether it is called Teambuilding or Mindfulness. I’ve had great success in large or small groups with this simple technique: Have attendees sit with their hands in their laps, palms up, elbows slid back towards their ribs (which opens the chest for better breathing and helps keep the spine extended) ideally closing their eyes. Then instruct them to relax their hands. This requires getting ‘out of your head’ and can elicit the ‘relaxation response.’ It is enjoyable after a few minutes to see a group relax and come together right before your eyes!
So, the next time someone tells you “Relax, take a breath.” – don’t react or resist, just breathe!
S.S. Shiva Singh Khalsa, E-RYT 500, Aquarian Academy Mentoring Lead Trainer and President and co-founder with his wife Shabad Kaur Khalsa, LMFT, LCPC E-RYT500, of Spirit Rising Yoga Center operated by Spirit Rising Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. Meditation and Yogic exercises have been the core of his life during his business careers over the decades. Spirit Rising Yoga Center is located in Chicago. www.SpiritRisingYoga.org