Got a Moment?
Sometimes you really need to relax, and at those times, you usually don’t have time to relax. Cue intro to this week’s DVD, Momentary Meditations.
I’ve tried a lot of meditation CDs and DVDs over the years … and quite a few meditation cassette tapes too, if that gives you an idea of my extensive experience. Momentary Meditations is one that I keep coming back to.
I use it when I can’t sleep or when I have to get on an airplane. I rarely make it to the end of the zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Just kidding, although it was really difficult for me to find out what happened at the end of this DVD so I could give a complete review this week.
Momentary Meditations contains five different meditations of varying lengths, or you can play them all back-to-back. If you’re running short of time, you can still get a lot of benefit by just playing one or two of the meditations.
All five feature Barbara Biziou’s calm voice leading you through the meditations. Soothing, gentle music plays in the background.
The first meditation, Simple Breath, is just that. It shows you how to breathe slowly and fully, focusing on your breath for total relaxation. The visual is just a woman in a garden setting, with Biziou’s voiceover instructions and tranquil music in the background. The woman’s red tank top is a little bright, but overall the effect of the segment is relaxing.
The Simple Breath meditation is the shortest of the five, lasting only four minutes, but it’s quite effective when you only have a short time to meditate. The tendency is to continue to breathe this way after the meditation ends, so you get a relaxation benefit beyond the four minutes.
Biziou describes the second meditation, Beauty of the Heart, as a “portable stress breaker” suitable for use in any stressful situation. This segment mostly shows nature scenes, rather than showing a person demonstrating techniques.
After a few reminders about breathing, the focus of this segment turns to visualization. You are instructed to remember a happy time or imagine a favorite place in nature. The Beauty of the Heart meditation is just over four minutes, but by the end, I’m usually yawning (and unlike in exercise DVDs, yawning is a good thing here!).
When I first saw that the third meditation was called “Sensual Relaxation” I worried that this was one of those “not suitable for the whole family” kind of DVDs, but it turns out Biziou doesn’t mean that kind of sensual.
This is the only segment that focuses on the body at all, going through a standard set of progressive muscle relaxation exercises. After some introductory focus on breathing, Biziou takes you from head to toe (actually, from toe to head), tensing and then relaxing different muscles in your body. A different woman, this one in a more mellow pale pink tank top, demonstrates the movements.
At almost 12 minutes, this is one of the longest meditations on the DVD. It takes a while to go through all those muscle groups, but it’s well worth the time investment. Relaxing the body helps to relax the mind. I’m usually extremely sleepy by this point.
While nature scenes have been relegated to the background in the other segments, they are the main focus of the fourth meditation, Nurturing Energy. Biziou instructs you to take note of various aspects of the scenery, from the changing colors of the sunset to the sound of trickling water.
The end result is a 10-minute mindfulness meditation. You focus on the scenery around you, rather than whatever is worrying you. Any thoughts that arise can be carried away on the flowing water that features in all the nature scenes of this segment.
I hardly ever make it to the end of the Nurturing Energy segment. Spoiler alert: there is a lighthouse around the 7-minute mark that I don’t remember ever seeing before. While reviewing the DVD this week, I had to get up in the middle of the segment and do some jumping jacks, or I still would never have been awake to notice the lighthouse.
The final meditation, Revitalizing Your Spirit, brings together elements learned from the other four segments. There’s breathing, there’s visualization, there’s muscle relaxation, there’s mindfulness … this 12-minute segment’s got it all.
It doesn’t really matter that it’s repeating techniques from other segments, because I rarely even get this far into the DVD. It’s good to know it’s there if I ever need it though.
This week was pretty stressful for me: I travelled out of town (on an airplane, no less!), wrapped up a big project at work, competed in a playoff game in my bowling league, battled a head cold, and finished a lot of holiday preparations. I was able to handle it all with aplomb, by using any spare moments for Momentary Meditations.