The Hardest Workout: A 10 Minute Meditation
Last week I told you about my favorite workout. This week I’ll write about one of the hardest ones I know: a 10 minute meditation. Here it is:
10 Minute Meditation
Find a place to sit for 10 minutes.
Sit still. Breath.
You can do this workout whether you are training for a Spartan Stadium Sprint or a Beast. You can do it for no reason at all.
All abilities are welcome. If you possess consciousness you have the prerequisites needed to practice meditation.
This folks, is truly a #noexcuses situation.
Meditation Versus Sitting
Some people call this kind of workout ‘meditating’ or ‘practicing mindfulness’. Call it whatever you want.
This practice spans a spectrum of contexts throughout history. It can be part of a path towards nirvana. It can also be basic self-help. There are countless studies full of empirical data that illustrate the mental and physical benefits of regularly sitting still and breathing. Whatever the context, a common theme to meditation involves sitting still in one place for a set duration.
I, actually, prefer to use the word “sitting” instead of meditation. This sounds simpler and has less baggage to confuse me.
I found I psyched myself out when I was ‘practicing meditation’ or ‘practicing mindfulness’. "Sitting somewhere for 10 minutes" sounds way more manageable than doing a "10-minute meditation".
Besides, I enjoyed ‘practice’ when practice involved sitting. I’d be like, damn, I’m gonna sit the hell out of this sitting session.
I simply sit with the intention of sitting still for 10 minutes and breathing. I set the timer on my phone to go off. Then I leave all the mystic bullshit for some other time. I just sit and try to enjoy it.
During the 10 minute meditation I’ll count my breaths. If I get lost, I start back at one. I don’t keep track of how many sets I do. I just try and be aware of the breaths while I count them. I try and keep my conscious mind in the present moment during the whole workout.
Most often I sit at home sitting on a pillow or cushion on the floor. But I’ve done it on a subway and in a train. I’ve done it inside and outside, at all times of day. I’ve done a walking and running variation. Even a driving one. But the one to aim for, primarily, is the sitting one.
A lot of people find this task of sitting somewhere still for 10 minutes and counting breaths extremely hard to fit into their days. Sounds crazy, I know — but tell someone to do it and you'll get all sorts of excuses. So, it doesn’t have to be formal.
If you have 10 minutes and some privacy try to do some sitting. Sit on the floor or on a log, in a chair or on a rock. Sit cross-legged or sit in a chair. Try and keep your back straight. Don't overthink it beyond this.
Sit. Breath. Be aware.
There’s all sorts of crazy monkey mind going on in your mind, we know. It’s tiring. It’s normal. We get hung up in the past and future. Our brains go anywhere other than the present moment of simply breathing and enjoying it.
Whenever you start catching your frantic brain spouting words other than 1 through 10, politely remind yourself to go back to counting your breaths again.
Try and enjoy the present moment.
Sitting ain’t so bad. Could be worse.
I mean, hell, you could be on the side of a mountain in the cold rain carrying a sandbag up a 18% gradient after 5 miles of hellacious course. A 10 minute mediation is a tropical vacation by comparison.
It’s ok to smile.
It’s ok to cry, too. Or laugh. Or sometimes, despite our best efforts, fall asleep. Whatever you happen to be at the moment, just be it. Just keep breathing and being aware.
Just try and stay still for the 10 minute meditation. Count your breaths. Keep your back straight. Enjoy. Don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t overthink it.
If you keep asking yourself if you are doing it right or wrong, you are doing it wrong. Relax. If you are trying to sit still, breath, and be aware of the present moment you are doing it right.
Even if you fail miserably.
And you will fail.
I've done Ultra Beasts and I'm much more successful at the workouts involved in that than I am in this workout.
In fact, after a decade of extreme ultra-distance I've found this to be the most extreme frontier I could try and conquer -- just being still with myself in the present moment of reality that I happen to be in. Go figure.
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