Bouncing Meditation

Kozy Carrier Mei Tai

I’m reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices. It’s not the first time I’ve read about walking meditation, but it’s been very much on my mind. He suggests walking slowly and mindfully, allowing your breath to guide your steps rather than the other way around. “When you breathe in,” he says, “take two or three steps, depending on the capacity of your lungs. If your lungs want two steps while breathing in, then give exactly two steps. If you feel better with three steps, then give yourself three steps. When you breathe out, also listen to your lungs. Know how many steps your lungs want you to make while breathing out.” As we go along, we should modify the number of steps we take per in-breath and out-breath based on what our lungs want.

I’ve started trying to take a mindfulness walk with the kids a couple of times a week. Based on our experiences so far, I think “mindfulness walk with the kids” might be an oxymoron. But I have found another place in my life to apply the principles of walking meditation.

For each of my son’s naps, I put him in a mei tai carrier on my chest and bounce him on my birth ball until he falls asleep. We have white noise on, and sometimes I sing, but often he falls asleep better if I’m silently bouncing him or just humming one note over and over again. Which leaves me not much to do besides bouncing. Today I found myself counting the number of bounces I took on my in-breath, and then counting the number of bounces on the out-breath. I smiled a little because I hadn’t consciously made the choice to do a Bouncing Meditation, but I was pleased that I stumbled upon this means of combining my mindfulness practice with my mothering.

I closed my eyes and focused on my breath. After a few breaths, I felt my shoulders and my face relaxing. I felt kind of floaty, like weight was being lifted from my body allowing me to sit taller without effort. This feeling of serenity and lightness was much nicer than what I usually do, which is stare at the clock wondering when I’m going to be able to lay him down on his little bed.

After he was asleep, I was relaxed and ready to jump into a frantic 15-minute house-cleaning session before the babysitter arrived, humming and smiling as I went. I didn’t make much headway, but at least I felt calm about it.

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