Hope Knosher outlines the basic sequence of a well-rounded yoga session. Use this as a standard to start your home practice!Read more
Mind-body practices are becoming mainstream, and the practice of mindfulness is having its moment. By now you have probably heard about mindfulness. But what exactly does it mean to be mindful and how will this practice help you to live a better life? Simply put, mindfulness is a way of relating to yourself and the world around you.
Through mindfulness, you can tap into your own natural resources to reduce stress anytime and anywhere. It is as simple as learning to focus your attention, and the result can be life changing.
Many studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness to include decreases in anxiety, irritability, stress, and depression. But there is more. Mindfulness can dramatically reduce pain and the emotional response to pain, working memory; creativity, attention span, mental and physical stamina and it may even reduce aging at the cellular level. The list of potential and proven benefits is vast and the time is now to get started on this life-changing journey of being present.
Mindfulness is about observing without criticizing while finding compassion for yourself. But how do we do this in our busy, hectic lives?
Here are three ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life:
Take some time each day to bring your awareness to the physical sensation of your breath, the rise and fall of your belly and chest, and the air moving through nose and mouth. You can do this standing or sitting and just about anywhere and anytime.
Taking some time to mindfully appreciate the things in life that we take for granted can help us to open both heart and mind to all life offers.
You might make a commitment to notice six things that usually go unappreciated in your life. Pick anything whether people, things, pets, or activities.
Taking a few moments to ponder your chosen things. Look for details, origin, or your relationship with the people or things on your list. Acknowledge the benefits that these things or people bring to your life.
Make a point to truly explore and find gratitude for each one cultivating a more open and accepting perspective.
We spend most days going through the motions of life without a great deal of awareness. Especially when it comes to tasks that we repeatedly do. Mindful observation is simply taking occasional moments throughout the day to cultivate awareness. You might choose to cultivate mindfulness while eating a meal, taking the time to savor the smells, take in the details of the food, including colors, tastes, and textures while being appreciative for all that it took to get it to your plate. Another area might be getting into your car or walking through your house. You might choose to be mindful of your thoughts, choosing to replace a non-productive thought with something that is more supportive.
Taking a few moments each day to cultivate awareness can help us to remember how many blessings we have in life and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. As you begin to spend time being mindful you may find that you feel calmer, more patient, and kind. As you start to experience such shifts, you may also begin to notice changes in other parts of your life. As I started a mind-body practice, I began to experience energetic shifts. This lead to a feeling of being more able to tap into my authentic self as I became more open, willing, and able to be present in a different way with others. I also slept better and enjoyed a sense of being in the moment more often.
Mindfulness practices help us to connect with the good in life ~ to what matters. If you are ready to try mindfulness schedule a few moments to begin a practice and see what happens!