The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) has caused us to feel anxious, from trying to protect our loved ones from this pandemic to handling uncertain about the future. With various quarantine and social distancing measures being put in place by the government, everyone has started to get antsy as well. Our Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned in his speech “We are humans, after all, it is in our nature to be social.” Therefore, with these measures put in place, we undoubtedly have started to feel unsettled being at home, away from social interactions with colleagues and friends. Luckily, meditation is a useful tool to help relax, calm, restore your inner peace and lift spirits in these times.
In today’s climate, we all have too much time to ourselves due to quarantine measures, and meditation involves only the mind, making it easy to do and not time-consuming. Once created the space, we can meditate anytime, anywhere. Meditation has various uses, including but not limited to, the following:
There are also various ways to meditate, including exercises and special breathing techniques, which will eventually aid in concentration, where the burning of incense is a common practice. When burning incense, also make sure that your place is well-ventilated, and smoke is not directly drifting into your face.
Moreover, together with the benefits of meditation, the burning of incense can stimulate the brain, creating a sense of calm. It can reduce heart rate and soothe nerve pathways within the brain; resulting in the spirit of peace and relaxation within you; helps developing an inner centre of serenity and happiness, which will help you get through the current pandemic.
Although there is more than one method to find inner calm in a time such as this, meditation involves the embracing of the situation, helping in building inner self. Here is a guide to meditate when you are stuck at home during the global pandemic:
Burn the incense on an incense burner
The incense burner should be on a low table or shelf. Create a beautiful, comfortable seating for practice and include various objects that inspire the achievement of mindfulness. Something simple will do; there is no need to make your space fancy. Comfort is key.
There is no set rule for meditation; however, the most common practice is to sit cross-legged on the floor, with cushion support, and hands resting in the lap, palm up, right hand on top of the left. Also, sit up straight, without being rigid, relax your shoulders without slouching. At this point, it is also important to note that comfort is vital.
Close eyes gently
Eyes could be left open too, depending on whichever is comfortable. At this point, it is best to set an intention for the meditation session, letting go of all expectations regarding the meditation. Allow meditation to unfold naturally and effortlessly.
Let your lips touch with a slight smile, triggering the happiness circuitry in the brain. Mentally reaffirm your reasons for meditating, but remember to let go of all expectations and apprehensions. Allow the mind to relax into its natural peace and calm.
Deep breaths help to calm the body in mind. Slow and deep breathing, concentrating your attention on listening and feeling with every inhale and exhale. Use this to observe wandering thoughts and bring the focus back to the breath and relaxing.
At such a time where the feeling of being unsettled, cooped up at home, is prevalent, meditation will help clear our minds and unclutter our thoughts. It also does not require a lot, where we could all meditate for as long as we like, at our own time and target. Furthermore, this could help us get into the habit of meditation, whereby even without the pandemic at hand, could help us get through the stresses of everyday life.
Written by Cassie Chow
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