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Contributed by Carmen Curtis, founder of AIReal Yoga

I get all my yoga teacher trainees to settle their minds by giving them colored pencils and mandala coloring books. They choose certain colors and start on the outside rim of the design, working their way inward. They feel so calm and focussed by the time they get to the center, they don’t want to stop coloring!

What might seem to be a mere child’s play has a lot more to it than you might think. The repetitive or creative process of coloring geometric shapes, or a beautiful design, paying close attention to each stroke, staying inside the lines – this simple and non-threatening task requires no expertise. It’s very easy to engage in. Next thing we know, we are finding some quality quiet time, soothing our thoughts, allowing our brain to enter a different wavelength.

Focusing our attention in the present moment – the pencil and paper in our hands now – benefits our mindfulness in daily dealings. For that time, it automatically unplugs us from technology, such as the phone or computer. It turns us inward when all the distractions of the world try to pull us outward, scattering our consciousness.

A wide variety of art therapies for adults implement coloring. The trials show that coloring as mindfulness meditation can help improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and promote positive life changes.

Try coloring before bedtime – you might sleep more soundly or dream more magical dreams!

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)