How to Stand Mindfully and Be More Present
How much time a week do you spend standing? Maybe you spend a few hours or so standing while on the train to and from work (if you commute around London this might be all too familiar)? Maybe standing is part of the job you do? If you do a sit-down job and say the drive to work, it could be as simple as the fact you spend time standing while in the shower or making a cup of tea (or coffee) at breakfast time.
Whatever it is, most of us spend some time standing each week. So wouldn’t it be nice if that “standing time” could be turned into a mindfulness exercise to help you be more in the present moment?
We are going to look at two approaches to this: a formal one and an informal one to standing mindfully.
A formal standing training meditation
A good way to familiarise your self with the mindfulness of standing is by doing a formal guided meditation that takes you through the various aspects of your posture. So let's start by doing an exercise, stand up and listen to this guided standing meditation to help you learn.
How did you find that? Did you manage to be aware of your standing posture?
You can practice this, say a couple of times a week or so, for the next month to help you get the principles ingrained. This is the formal training aspect to this blog.
I also found this podcast on the web, Standing meditation: a guided meditation, by Danny Ford, a meditation teacher and psychotherapist. Maybe try his approach as well and take from it, as always with any mindfulness teacher, what you find useful and appropriate.
Informal mindfulness of standing and being more present
Once you have had a taste of the formal approach to standing meditation, you can then apply the principle in a broader way to your daily life. I do this often and have found it really useful for grounding my mind in the present.
It can be really simple as well; which is even better. Working from home on stuff like this blog post, I like to take tea breaks. So I go downstairs, put on the kettle and wait. I don't take with me my: phone to check; MacBook to continue working on; a book to read or anything else for that matter. I just have a break and stand mindfully, being present, waiting for the kettle to boil. I notice my posture as a whole: the sensation of standing and then perhaps a couple of breaths. It is a minute or two of mindfulness, that's all.
Many places to stand mindfully
I’ll apply this “mindfulness of standing” to many other situations as well: standing in the shower (when I’m not singing), standing at work, standing in a queue in a shop, standing on a railway platform, standing on a train if I can’t get a seat... the list could easily go on.
Have a go
So just have a go; try being mindful when you next find yourself standing to wait for something. However, don’t take the attitude it will elevating impatience. Perhaps, at first, you’ll notice the impatience more simple because you are paying more attention to how you are. In time, and with practice, you might find the impatience softens; having allowed the energies to come and go but not feeding into them; they start to loosen their grip. You might find you can stand more patiently and be more present and aware of the moment.
Or, aside from all that, it can be just a moment to catch your breath and re-centre.
If you’d like to find out about the other postures in the series take a look (when they are released) at:
1. How To Stand and Be More Present
2. How To Walk and Better Settle Thoughts
3. How To Sit and Start to Calm