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5 ways to meditate during your commute to work

A morning meditation can set you up for a winning day. Here are five simple ways to fit the practice into your morning routine before you hit the office. 

Studies show that Australians spend 4.4 hours a week or 53 minutes a day — commuting to and from work (based on a five-day working week). Much of this time is spent on our phones, catching up on the latest news or planning the day ahead. 

However with 44 per cent of Australians saying they sometimes feel high amounts of stress related to work, could we be utilising our time in travel more effectively to de-stress and prime ourselves for the day?

Celia Roberts, co-founder of the Yoga and Integrative Medicine Institute says that morning meditation can lower our stress hormone levels. 

"The best time of day to practice is between 6am and 8am for those of us with regulated hormone levels," she said. 

"If it is done first thing in the morning, it can set your mind to function productively and efficiently with enhanced concentration for the day. Nowadays, many of us are on the move during those hours so there are some great ways to practice during your commute."

Whether you walk to work, catch public transport or grab a coffee on your way, Celia has five strategies you can implement into your daily commute to reduce stress, bring your attention to the present and prepare yourself to have a positive day.

1.    A quick five-minute meditation on the bus/train

Focus on your breath, the rise and fall on the abdomen. With a soft, quiet breath put more attention on the out breath to calm down and lower the heart rate. Alternatively, place more attention on the in breath to lift the mind and raise the heart rate. Make sure your jaw is soft, your shoulders relaxed, and you increase saliva in the mouth to induce the relaxation response. 

2.    Concentrate on your walk

Feel your feet fully in contact with the earth; be aware of your breath as you walk. Stay fully concentrated on your feet "kissing the earth".

3.    Tune into the way you are drinking your coffee or eating breakfast

Slow down, chew more (15 chews per mouthful) and taste all sensations on the tongue. This has the effect of making us relish our food more and regulate our weight. Avoid eating on the run or eating emotionally. 

4.    Affirmations

Create a feeling sensation of how you want to feel in the body. Let this feeling be your affirmation. The cascading physiological effect of creating feeling affirmations in the body are very rewarding. For example, take a compassionate, confident or joyful breath in through the body. Notice the state change in your body and breath. 

5.    Listen to your breath

Listen to the softness of your breath. Keep the breath barely audible to receive the best benefits of the relaxation response. For those who find the breath is short or shaky with stress or anxiety, try humming on the out breath. This will extend your breath ratio and calm the nervous system. It is a great one to do whilst driving.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain