Most of us spend a great deal of time sitting behind our desks, or in conference rooms or colleagues’ offices, so having a short practice that helps you relax while at work can be beneficial. What I call the desk chair meditation gives you a way to incorporate a short mindfulness practice into your day.
You may need to be creative to find a quiet place. The desk chair part need not be taken literally. This meditation can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice, even an airplane seat.
You may need to be creative to find the quiet place. Many people have told me that they’re best able to do this practice by first leaving their office and finding an empty conference room, or even leaving the building to sit in their car during part of their lunch break. The desk chair part need not be taken literally. This meditation can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice, even an airplane seat.
Mindfulness Practice: Desk Chair Meditation
- The main part of this practice involves what’s called a “body scan,” which is very simple to do. Begin by bringing your attention to the sensations of your breath.
- When you’re ready, direct your attention to the soles of your feet, opening your mind to whatever sensations are there to be noticed. Perhaps you are noticing the pressure on the soles of your feet as the weight of your legs rests on them. Perhaps the soles of your feet feel warm or cool.
- Just notice. No need to judge or engage in discursive thinking. If your mind is pulled away or wanders, redirect your attention, firmly and gently.
- Move your attention next to the tops of your feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and so forth. Gradually scan through your body, noticing sensations, noticing discomfort, and noticing areas of your body where you detect an absence of sensations. You simply don’t notice any sensations in your shoulders right now, for example. No need to search for sensations; just keep scanning through your body, taking your time and being open to what is here.
Excerpted from Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership by Janice Marturano. Copyright ©2014 by Janice Marturano. January, 2014, by Bloomsbury Press. Reprinted with permission.