Real World Meditation Tips from NYC Teens

Hello OM Schooler!

As you know, OM Schooled was born and bred in NYC public schools. NYC is many amazing things but one thing it's not- quiet! It's a good thing there are so many yoga studios (and museums, libraries and other contemplative places) there.

But what if you can't get to a cushion, meditation center, or yoga studio, but need to touch down into the present moment and connect with yourself? You might want to take a page from an unlikely source -- teenagers.

In teen meditation class we were discussing this and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Peace is Every Step. The zen teacher and poet talks about using so called “obstacles” in daily life as helpers on the path. What if you use a ringing phone as a reminder to consciously breathe? What if waiting in line is a chance to meditate? 

In addition to these ideas my teen meditators brainstormed the following recommendations: 

1. Use Social Media Notifications as a Reminder to Breathe with Consciousness. 

For each notification close your eyes and inhale/exhale with intention. Five notifications today? Stop and take five breaths before proceeding! Or perhaps each notification equals a minute of sitting meditation practice. My teen students are challenging themselves in this way, and turns out the most active Instagrammers are now being called to meditate the most.

2. Don’t Walk = Do Breathe.

When you arrive at an intersection and the 'Don’t Walk' sign is lit, what’s your first reaction? Impatience? Checking out? Instead of just waiting for a gap in traffic to dart across the street can you check in with your breath consciously? What if 'Don’t Walk' becomes 'Do Breathe', with intention? The breath is a bridge to the conscious moment and unifies mind and body. Allow mind and body to intersect as streets and avenues do. 

3. City Walking Meditation.

When slow walkers appear in front of you maybe take it as a moment to practice breathing and being. Especially if there is a whole line of slow walkers! Might as well practice patience and drop into some walking meditation right there, on the street.

What are some of your ideas for bringing meditation into the every day?