The Hit List – Meditation for people who can’t sit still

by Theresa Reed on January 30, 2016


meditation for people who can't sit still

I’m a fidgety girl, both physically and mentally.  Always have been.  Perhaps it’s my jangly Gemini nature (Gemini rules the nervous system) or maybe it’s my love of caffeinated beverages.  I think it might just be that I’m too curious for my own good.  I’m nosy by nature and want to know what’s happening every single minute of the day.

This energy does not make for a very good sitter.  Even though I sit for my work, I’m always shifting my position, squirming in my chair, and looking for any excuse to get up.

Yet I meditate just fine.

And it’s only because I have been doing it since I’ve been a kid.

When I was a child, that nervous energy did not bode well for sleep. I had a lot of trouble falling asleep, which often meant keeping my poor sister up talking way past our bedtimes (and getting in heaps o’ trouble from a tired mom who got sick of our big mouths wrecking her sleep).

When I was nine years old, I read an article in the local newspaper about how to get to sleep by following a meditation technique where you relax one body part at a time.  I decided to try it that night and scrambled to bed right on time, eager to see if it would work.

I was out in minutes.

It worked.

That became my little ritual at night (after gabbing with my sis, of course).  I was meditating myself into total relaxation so I knew that this stuff worked early on.

Over the years, I’ve practiced formal meditation off and on (I’m not really good with anything formal, so I rarely stick with anything structured).  I’ve sat in a Zen studio, staring at a wall until my knees cramped.  I’ve taken all day meditation classes with all sorts of strange techniques.  I’ve participated in yoga nidra (my favorite).  And I’ve sat.  Usually with a cat nearby.

I can do it.

And so can you, my fidgety friend.

In fact, I have taught meditation to many a restless yoga student.  My studio is set up for those types.  (I’m an anti-guru so the hot shot contortionists and serious meditators know to steer clear of this place.)  Most of my students are shocked to discover that they too, can meditate – often longer than they thought possible.

My techniques work because I take the uptight spiritual stick out of it and I make it doable.  Because I hate formalities (see above).

The first rule: don’t worry about creating a blank slate mind.  That’s not what meditation is for, despite what you may  have heard.

Next: find a comfortable posture.  This is ESSENTIAL.  If your back is hurting or your hips are cramping up, trust me, you won’t be meditating.  You’ll be silently cursing your teacher and thinking of any excuse to get the hell out of that pose.  You may choose to sit on a cushion or a small folded blanket.  If you have back issues, sit up against a wall.  Can’t get down on the floor?  A chair will do just fine.  If none of that works, lie down.  Yes, I’m serious.

Now: close your eyes and follow your breath.

Notice any thoughts that arise.  Label those thoughts (worry, planning, etc.) and then let them go. Return to watching your breath.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Remember, there is no striving for a blank mind.  Just notice what comes up, period.  You’re learning how your brain operates and making friends with it.

Sit for a few minutes, and then bam – you’re done.  Yep, I recommend only a few minutes a day for squirmy types.  That may be all you need.

This can be done any time that you choose.  Always work with what is convenient for you.  For me, it’s usually first thing in the morning. You might prefer doing at night.  Maybe even in bed like I was doing when I was a kid.

No time?  Try practicing quiet mindfulness while doing an activity such as walking or washing dishes.  Any activity can become a meditation when you focus and tune out other distractions.

And, oh the benefits!

Benefits such as a better connection to your sixth sense.  Calmness.  Greater compassion for others and yourself.  Lowered blood pressure.  Relaxation, baby. You won’t need that nightly glass of wine to unwind.  (Uh  actually I do. Heh heh…)

No more excuses.

Just sit.


Yes, my cat TaoZen has his own little meditation mat!

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What I’m Grateful For:

Good friends

Quiet moments in the morning

Pink gel pens

New gear

Camera bag choices


Calorie counting apps


Soundtrack for 1/30/16: When I Rule the World by Liz <-this cracks me up!


pics from stock photography and personal collection

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016

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