Welcome to the world of smart phones and electronic communications, where, like our gadgets, we are expected to be on 24 hours a day. Like Matthew B. James, Ph.D., points out in his article for the Huffington Post, “the idea of a real vacation, a day or week off, is now a complete dinosaur. It’s extinct.”
By allowing the integration of work into every moment of our lives, we may be kidding ourselves that we are getting more done when, in reality, our productivity often goes down. Our brains need to turn off on occasion, just like a fresh reboot for your computer.
James suggests that short breaks during the day will keep you fine-tuned and healthier and offer up these tips for how to make the most of your reboot break:
Light meditation: Hakalau is a light meditation suited for these 15-minute breaks. This is a form of meditation from the ancient Hawaiian Huna system called “the walking meditation of the Kahuna” because the Kahuna who practiced it were able to walk around and function while remaining in the state. There are five steps to this form of meditation:
Ho’ohaka: Just pick a spot on the wall to look at, preferably above eye level, so that your field of vision seems to bump up against your eyebrows, but not so high as to cut off the field of vision.
Ku’u: “To let go.” As you stare at this spot, just let your mind go loose, and focus all of your attention on the spot.
Lau: “To spread out.” Notice that within a matter of moments, your vision begins to spread out, and you see more in the peripheral than you do in the central part of your vision.
Hakalau: Now, pay attention to the peripheral. In fact, pay more attention to the peripheral than to the central part of your vision
Ho’okohi: Stay in this state for as long as you can. Notice how it feels.
Deep meditation: If you have an office or a space you can make quiet and can close your eyes, you can do a 15-minute deep meditation. This is going into a deep alpha state without going to sleep. The form of this meditation we teach from Huna is called Hiolani, also called the sitting meditation of the Kahuna. “Hio” is “to lean, “lani” is “heavens.” People in the islands use the term Hiolani to express the phrase “to lean upon the heavens.” The Hiolani meditation requires you to be as comfortable as you can and to remain awake — this can be the hard part! You can also achieve this state through self-hypnosis. A 15-minute meditation that is deep enough can be the rest equivalent of 1.5 hours of sleep.