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Feel-Good Five-Minute Meditation

Feeling tense? Slash stress and carve out a sliver of inner peace with these two five-minute exercises developed by Vancouver yoga and meditation expert Padma, host of the television show Living Yoga with Padma. "These two exercises work very well together," notes Padma. "One is for clearing and refocusing your mind, the other is more personal."

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Office Harmony

Office Harmony

First minute:
Sit quietly and comfortably – and lose the distractions: loosen your belt, take your shoes off, go to a soothing screen saver, unplug the phone, turn off your cell.

Second minute: Pay attention to your breathing as you inhale slowly through your nose, filling the chest and belly. Hold for four seconds, then exhale slowly and steadily through your nose. Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly to feel the gentle flow of air.

Third minute: Inhale, then imitate the drone of a bumblebee while exhaling. Mmmmmmm. Close your eyes and feel the soft hum resonate in your head.

Fourth minute: Cross your hands over your chest, palms resting flat on your body, and feel the hum resonate in your chest.

Fifth minute: Sit silently, counting your breaths while pushing aside any thoughts that try to intrude. Count five breaths, then another, then another, until the minute is up.

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First minute:
Stay comfortably seated. Breathe through your nose throughout the exercise. Be still, and feel the weight of your body in the chair. Pay attention to the ebb and flow of your breath: four seconds in, four seconds out.

Second minute: Inhale as fully as you can, then exhale in six to eight short spurts by pulling your belly in sharply and repeatedly. Repeat for one minute.

Third minute: Close your eyes and breathe naturally for 30 seconds. You’re likely to feel light, calmer and more expansive. Keeping your eyes closed, take 15 seconds to concentrate on your sense of touch. Observe the texture of your clothes, the feel of the skin on your face, the sensation beneath your fingertips. Move onto your other senses: smell, taste, hearing and seeing. Try not to have any expectation of what your senses will tell you – simply observe.

Fourth minute: Don’t try to control your thoughts, just allow them to come and go. You’re becoming aware that you are observing your own thinking.

Fifth minute: Choose the most fabulous thought that you can: be it a word, phrase or image. Keep your attention on that one thing. Be aware of the quality of that thought. If you’re thinking of a beach, for example, the quality may be peacefulness; if you’re thinking of your dream car, it may be abundance. Be aware that you seek the quality, not necessarily the thing.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada