Saturday, January 7, 2012

Five a Day

The last post was all about the need to keep the yoga bucket full, so when we feel like we are losing our sanity, we have some reserves upon which we can fall back. But how do we do that? What sorts of tricks can we utilize when our lives feel like they are falling apart?

The answer is simple – five a day. With just five minutes per day, we can begin to refill our reserves, to refill our buckets.

One of the main culprits for feeling so overwhelmed is the constant barrage of information into our lives, whether new cases, emails, phone calls, texts, facebook, or even the radio, there is always noise around us. Interestingly, people in New Zealand speak very quietly. A common complaint among Americans is that the Kiwis are difficult to hear. I joked that it was because they live in a quieter place, so they do not have to scream to be heard. Then I came back to the United States, and I realized it was no joke. This place is LOUD.

But this barrage of noise and information is not unique to Americans. Even the Kiwis are plagued by it; their voice decibel level has simply not caught up. The New York Times had two great articles about the need for silence recently (here and here), and both of them point out how we are paradoxically more productive when we take the time to turn off and unplug.

The easiest way to do this is to take five minutes per day to be in silence. Personally, I prefer the morning, in order to start my day in the serenity and clearing that silence allows. Others prefer right in the middle of the day, an opportunity to take a break from the insanity and let it all disappear into the silence. Still others prefer the evening, just before bed, as a chance to end their day in the silence and sleep more profoundly. Ideally, we would all utilize moments throughout the day to be in silence, but starting small helps ensure we continue the practice.

There are no rules. There is no way to do this wrong. There is nothing in particular about which you must think or about which you are forbidden from thinking. I am purposefully not using the word meditation here. While I often use this time for my meditation practice, it need not be a defined type of meditation. 

Just silence. Just stillness. Just allow yourself five minutes per day, every single day.

I find that five minutes sounds like nothing until I try to do it, and then I find that some days I cannot even make five minutes for stillness. I know it is a choice I am making, but still, the thought of “wasting” that time in stillness creeps up into my ego. But I know (and so do you, dear reader) that this time is exactly what we need to ensure we are not wasting the rest of our time.

As an added bonus, though not in place of the five minutes of complete silence, I have found another place to find silence – the car. My first couple of weeks at my new job put me into a state of stress I do not think I have experienced since the end of college when I was working 35 hours per week, writing a thesis, and caring for my sick grandfather who lived 30 miles away. The end of the second week at my new job was better for three reasons: 1) my wonderful boss came back from vacation and was a huge help, 2) I restarted my (at least) five minutes per day, and 3) I turned off the radio in my car. The job requires a lot, and I mean a lot, of driving, and I have begun to use the car as an opportunity to sit in silence even amongst the horrific driving conditions that are Tucson, Arizona.

But the car is just a bonus. The true benefit, the true need, is complete, intentional silence when we can turn off completely. As much as I would like to turn off completely in the car, I think others on the road may disapprove. So, the mornings are mine. Silent and calm. Start small, start with five minutes, and see if you can begin to refill your reserves.

Where can you find five minutes?


© Rebecca Stahl 2012, all rights reserved.


  1. Great post its really that simple. just 5 minutes per day to relax pure effortless relaxation

    its awesome

    1. And as those five minutes add up each day, we can hold it with us throughout the rest of the day!