5 Ways to Multitask with Mindfulness
Multitasking with mindfulness? Sounds super contradictory, right?
I’m totally Type A so I want to be as productive and efficient as possible in all aspects of my life but without overwhelming myself or burning myself out (as I have definitely done in the past). Hence, the necessity for self care like yoga, exercise and meditation.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a few simple ways to multitask and work more meditation, mindfulness, yoga and learning into my life without feeling like I’m bored or wasting time or being less productive. And now I’m stoked to share them with y’all!
Namaste & Have A Great Day!
1. Driving + Listening
I love long drives. It gives me the best excuse ever not to be looking at a phone or computer screen.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get to a trailhead. I also spend a lot of time driving back and forth to other cities to visit my boyfriend and visit my parents.
Sometimes I listen to music while racking up the miles on Rocky, my red Mazda3 hatchback full of yoga mats. But more often than not, I am listening to an audiobook (via Audible) or a podcast. I’m convinced the purpose of life is to learn and this is a great way to soak up some more wisdom. I tend to lean towards the educational, inspirational, entrepreneurial and motivational categories.
Some of my favorite podcasts are
• Yoga Teacher Resource
• How I Built This
• The Minimalists
• She Explores
• This American Life
And a few audiobooks I’ve found particularly interesting are:
• How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson
• Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
• Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
• The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F^&% by Mark Manson
• The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
• The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
• The Yogi Entrepreneur by Darren Main
• Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li
• The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
• The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
• Start Here Now by Susan Piver
2. Movement + Meditation
Whether on the trail or walking around the park, I like to practice a moving Metta meditation. It’s really simple and calms my monkey mind from dwelling on things that already happened in the past or worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future.
All I do is notice and direct this phrase towards the people (and animals) I’m passing by. May you be happy, healthy and free from harm. It keeps me super present and full of warm, fuzzy feelings. Friendly smiles and eye contact are optional.
You can also do a simple walking meditation where you bring awareness to your feet and take very slow, intentional steps. Keep the rest of the body relaxed and notice all the new sights, smells, sounds and sensations around you. This might feel a little awkward to do in public places so maybe start with this one in your backyard or neighborhood.
Both of these methods are best practiced alone to avoid the temptation to talk to another person.
3. Grounding + Meditation
Meditating anywhere is great but I notice a huge difference when I do it outside. I’ll take my shoes off and put my feet and/or hands on grass, dirt or stone to connect to the Earth. This is also called Earthing or Grounding. You are absorbing the earth’s negatively-charged electrons through your hands or feet which can help reduce inflammation & stress hormones, help you sleep better and reduce pain.
Sometimes I sit. Sometimes I lay down. Sometimes I close my eyes. Sometimes I look up at the clouds or at a waterfall or mountain vista or tree or rock in front of me. Sometimes I count my breaths. Sometimes I set a timer on my phone. Sometimes I repeat a mantra.
No matter how I do it, I always feel super grounded and relaxed afterwards. And sometimes I get these bursts of insight or creativity, too. If I’m stuck on something for work, I’ll go take a walk or sit outside and many times come back to my computer with fresh solutions.
4. Breathing + Anything
I don’t know why it’s taken me about 10 years of practice and 5 years of teaching yoga to realize I can apply mindful breathing off the yoga mat. All I do is bring a little more awareness to the breath flowing in and out through my nose. This keeps me from getting distracted or spiraling off into a downward thought spiral. Focusing on my breath has also had a calming effect on stressful or anxiety-inducing situations.
I did an immersive yoga training earlier this year where our teacher said “The breath is the thread that connects everything” and it just clicked.
I can focus on my breath while doing yoga, meditation, driving, eating, hiking, grocery shopping, teaching, learning, working, showering, brushing my teeth and more! 💩 Sounds like it would be extra work or be distracting but it makes me feel more present & focused. For reals.
5. Yoga + Nature
A yoga practice brings greater awareness of how the body works as a whole. That awareness includes how you hold yourself posturely and awareness is the first step to changing the bad habits we may or may not be aware of. Yoga can also decrease anxiety, increase concentration & focus and can boost self-esteem and confidence.
Getting outside into the fresh air and sunshine enhances any kind of activity, including yoga and meditation. Vitamin D from the sun supports bone and hormone health. You could get a little immune system boost from phytoncides released by plants and negative ions abundant in outdoor environments are believed to increase serotonin, which can relieve stress and increase energy.
It’s also important to spend time away from phone and computer screens and all the stressors and distractions that come with them.
And there’s the view, of course. Looking out over a river or park or garden sure beats staring at the person’s butt in front of you at a yoga studio. I have nothing against studios though - I still teach and take plenty of classes at them. ;)
If you’ve never tried this before, roll out a mat in your backyard and do a few asanas (poses) or feel free to join us for a yoga hike where you will have the opportunity to practice all of these suggestions.
If you found this post interesting, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well:
Need a little guidance for your outdoor yoga flow? Check out our nature-inspired yoga videos!