Meditation is a good way to start the practice of mindfulness, and if you’ve never indulged in meditation, you might find it a little intimidating, but worry not. Meditation is easy.

First up you might want to think about setting a timer to bring you out of your meditation. There’s no need to practice this for a long time at all. Try for 5, 10, or 15 minutes to start with. You can extend the time tomorrow if you wish, and you’ll soon discover what works best for you. I like to listen to a certain Buddhist chant when I meditate, for instance, and this particular track lasts for almost 15 minutes, so that has become the length of my daily meditation.

Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and play some relaxing music if you wish. Make sure that your back is straight, and that your head is perched straight on top of your spine, not leaning forward, backward, or to either side. There’s no need to sit cross-legged on the floor, but if that works for you, feel free to try it. Now close your eyes.

Breath in slowly through your nose, and notice that the air feels cool as you inhale. Think to yourself: I’m breathing in. Now exhale slowly through your nose, and as your breath leaves your body, think to yourself: I’m breathing out.

Repeat this over and over again, trying not to allow your mind to stray, but when it does—and it will—simply recognize the thought that just sprang up, observe that thought, and let it float away. Come back to “I’m breathing in/I’m breathing out.”

Some people like to have a mantra—a specific word or phrase—to repeat while they meditate, so instead of repeating “I’m breathing in/I’m breathing out,” they repeat their own personal mantra, over and over again. Om, a Sanskrit sound that’s thought by many to be the first sound heard after the universe was manifest, is often used as a mantra, and similarly, So/Hum, another Sanskrit mantra, is an example of another phrase that can be used. Loosely, So/Hummeans “Who am I?/You are the same as I am.” In other words, we are all as one.

I think that you’ll probably find that your attitude behind the bar changes significantly if you practice a little meditation before you go to work, and when I next post about mindful bartending, I’ll suggest some other ways in which you can apply mindfulness to your craft. Watch this space!


Gary Regan is the author of The Joy of Mixology, gaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders, and many other bartender-related books and newsletters. You can find him at www.gazregan.com.