As 2019 gets underway we’ve been exploring the theme Ditch Your Distractions. Sometimes though, the easiest and most compassionate path to not doing something is to consciously turn one’s attention towards something. Here are five ideas for doing just that, including a 5-minute audio sound meditation.

Create an opening practice ritual. Consistently rolling your mat out with care, taking a moment to offer gratitude, lighting a candle, doing a quick smudge… are all ways to both ritualize your practice and train your mind to join your body.

Take regular breath breaks. Set calendar reminders to be with your breath, even if just for a minute. Conscious breathing is a highly effective way to push restart and get back into present moment.

Set an intention. Whether you’re heading into a meeting, meal or yoga class, set a broader intention. Maybe it’s to listen more than speak, take three mindful bites or stay curious about sensations in body. The idea is to give your mind something useful to do in present time.

Talk a sensory walk. This is one of my favorite things to do. Take a walk down the hall, around the block or into the woods while allowing sensory experiences to meet awareness as well as naturally dissipate. Sounds, smells, sights… whatever arises. It’s an experiment in opening awareness up and holding lightly. Simply return attention to sensory awareness whenever you notice your mind has become distracted by thoughts, attitudes or emotions.

Meditate with sound. Spend a minute or more, eyes softened or closed, listening to ambient sounds, and spaces between sounds. Explore letting go of the source of sounds by practicing abiding with sounds (and silence). Check out the audio recording below for a five-minute sound meditation.

Posted by: Ashley Dahl, MSW, CMT-P, 8 Limbs Leadership Coach


Find a comfortable shape and relax your gaze or close eyes all together. For the first few minutes you’ll hear two Tibetan bowls, then a couple of minutes of relative silence. The invitation is be with all sounds as the arise in and out of being, whether from bowls or ambient sounds around you. The practice closes with three successive rings.

Interested in experiencing more ways to release stress and distractions with compassion? Join Ashley and Tracy February 16th for their Day of Kindness retreat.

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