Still squinting at your computer into the wee hours of the night, eating pretzels and knocking back that new disgusting pink Tab? (Seriously. Who thought women wanted a drink that tastes like chemically enhanced bubblegum?) Still trying to memorize all those weirdly named body parts for anatomy while your bed calls seductively to you from across the room?
Well, maybe my second installment of Spring Semester Freak-Out Remedies will help ease the pain. In this episode, we will be discussing meditation. The easy kind. None of that lotus-position hour long advanced yogi stuff. Let’s be real, almost none of us has time—or the back strength—for that.
Meditation, even in its simplest form, can bring your body and mind back from crazy land. It’s a centering practice, an easy way to feel rested in only a few minutes. And best of all? You can do it lying down!
Step 1. Make sure you have at least 15 minutes of quiet time. 15 minutes where you know the roommate won’t be around, when no one’s going to be knocking on your door, and there’s no rush to get down to the dining hall. If you have more time, awesome, but 15 minutes is a good place to start.
Step 2. Shut off all your lights. Close your curtains. You don’t need to be in pitch dark, but the atmosphere should be calming and quiet.
Step 3. Make sure you’re in comfy clothes. Tight jeans and tube tops does not a calm girl make.
Step 4. Lie down on your bed, but stay above the covers. Getting under the sheets is too much temptation. We want you to relax, not fall asleep. Make sure you’re laying on your back with your feet a comfortable width apart. Let you arms recline against your sides, palms up.
Step 5. Breathe with acknowledgement. What does this mean? It’s just a fancy, hippy way of saying be conscious of your breath. Listen to your inhales and exhales, think inhale, exhale, picture your lungs filling and letting out air.
Step 6. Block everything out. This is the hardest step. A lot of us have trouble keeping our minds completely blank, me especially. I’ll get thirty seconds in and then think, yes! My mind is blank! Which is, of course, counterproductive. The best way to keep your head clear is to focus on your breathing. Keep thinking inhale, exhale. Breathe deeper and deeper, allowing yourself to ‘fall into’ the breath. If thoughts creep in, gently push them out. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to think about things later.
Most importantly, let your body relax. Meditation is all about coming back into yourself, realizing how awesome your limbs and lungs and heart are. The better you get, the longer you can stay in this peaceful state and the more rested you feel after only 15 minutes. If you’re like me and have a hard time taking a nap in the middle of the day, meditation might just be for you. Because your body is not going completely unconscious, you don’t have to deal with that woozy ‘nap drunk’ feeling when it’s all over.
…Just think, next time you’re walking back to your dorm after European History with that new hottie, you can ask him if he’s ever meditated before, and when he looks at you with surprise, smile and say, “I do it all the time. It really centers you.” He’ll be so impressed with your earthy ways he might even ask for a private demonstration, and you’ll have these handy steps to make it seem like you’ve been doing this all your life.
You might even want to work in an extra step which requires all practitioners to be naked…
He’ll never know.