I’ve been having to reset all of my expectations for myself since having Covid. I am guessing you might be able to relate, since we are now two and a half years into the Covid pandemic, and so many of us have gotten sick.

I normally meditate in Sukhasana, or easy pose, with my legs crossed sitting up. Well, I was so exhausted as I was recovering from being sick, that sitting up seemed like too much work. This made me think about the idea of non-striving, one of the nine attitudes of mindfulness as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book Full Catastrophe Living:

“The mindful attitude of non-striving. Almost everything we do for a purpose, to get something or somewhere. But in meditation, this attitude can be a real obstacle. That is because meditation is different from all other human ac­tivities. Although it takes a lot of work and energy of a certain kind. Ultimately meditation is a non-doing.
…pointing you toward a new way of seeing yourself. One in which you are trying less and being more. This comes from intentionally cultivating the mindful attitude of non-striving.”

So, I decided to lie down.

  • I took the position of lying back with my knees bent.
    • This is similar to the Constructive Rest position from the Alexander Technique, because it is so restorative and naturally helps to release tension.
  • Then, I put one hand on my belly and one hand on my heart.
    • I felt my hands on my belly and on my chest moving with my breath.

And this is how I meditated. Not striving to sit as I normally do. Just allowing myself to be as I am and breathe.

Breathing became different during my illness. I could no longer breathe as deeply as I was accustomed to. So, my mantra became, “I am breathing, just as I am.”

Interestingly, after a few days of practicing like this, I actually started to feel more energized and started to be able to breathe deeper. I think that listening to my body and not forcing it to do more than it was capable of helped me to heal.

Have you noticed that you have been striving to go beyond where is okay for you or your body? Perhaps you can try to step back and allow yourself to be as you are and see where it leads you.

Maybe you also want to try meditating lying back for a change to see if it also helps to restore you? I’d love to hear how it works out for you.

May you have peace within,

Julia anjali mudra hands

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