Be Mindful – spend time with yourself

Practising Mindfulness daily is easier than you think.

 

Growing up I used to think meditation, yoga, and burning incense was suspect, and people who performed these ancient activities were lost & floating through life.

Unknowingly, I was introduced to meditation practises as a teenager while playing representative football (soccer) in Australia. I not only felt the benefits in my body, but also saw them spread throughout my entire life.
In my twenties I started doing yoga to help increase my performance on the football field, and again, I felt the benefits in my body, and throughout my life.

As for the incense, well, I just like the way it makes my house smell…

I started to feel more relaxed, in tune, and ‘at one’ with my body as I began to meditate regularly and practise yoga. When I needed to make critical decisions, or found myself in a busy time in my life, I was able to concentrate on the present moment better.
I’m only human, and there were times when months went by without the slightest thought of either of these practises. But, every time I came back to them, I always felt stronger emotionally, spiritually, and physically with an advanced ability to enjoy life in the present moment.

Over the years, my how and why I take part in these empowering activities has changed, but the results are still the same, I am more mindful!

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.” says Jon Kabat-Zinn creator of
The mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.

My Mindfulness practise has developed over the years, as I continually tried new ways based on the latest research, my time constraints, life, and what I feel is working for me.
Bottom line, I always make time to work on being able to stay present in each moment of life, because in reality, and when you truly think about it, that’s all we have!

I’ve found that sitting cross-legged and humming just doesn’t work for me, although over the years I’ve probably spent hours trying to make it work.
Practising being mindful (in my opinion) is about finding a way to be fully where you are, and present with your inner thoughts.
It’s not easy, but like anything in life, if you consistently practise, be open to change in ways you may not initially understand, and am committed to the cause of becoming the best version of yourself, then I truly believe you will see and feel the benefits of practising mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness Practise

 

If you’re lost on how to start mindfulness training, here are my top 3 ways start!

Breath Counting  
I throw this in a few times a week, or even a few times each day. I’m not one to do 10-15 minute long practises, for me, I’ve found shorter sessions but multiple times throughout the day works.
Sit in a chair, or lay on your back (your call) and start taking deep breaths, feeling your ribcage expand as much as possible, pause, then slowly breathe all the way out.

Focus just on breathing, nothing else. If something does come into your head, acknowledge its existence in your head, then let it go and get back to your breathing.
I count to 34, as it’s my age. I sometimes will repeat this exercise 3-4 times a day.

Walking Meditation 
I simply start walking, clearing my mind and focussing on each step I take while keeping a soft gaze ahead of me. I’m most productive when I do this in a park, or away from a main or busy road.
Simply be aware of the steps you take, and the direction you are heading – forwards!

Body Check 
My favourite, and where my training began!
Sit or lay down, close your eyes, and create an awareness from your toes, and up towards your head. Slowly start listening to how your toes, feet, heels, achilles etc feel. What do you sense? Are they tense, tight, or relaxed? 
Work your way up to your head, there is no “route map” just follow your instincts. It’s amazing what you can learn about how you are feeling, and what is going on inside your body from this exercise.
Continue your focus from your head back down to your toes, then back up to your head as many times as you like. Each time, try a different route and listen even more carefully to what your body is telling you.

If one of these work for you, great! If not, I urge you (if you are open to change) to continue your search to find a way to where you can switch off from the fast paced intense world we live in today, and become more connected to yourself and truly hear what your mind, body, and spirit is telling you.

 

Namaste

 

Other resources to help you;

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Guided Mindfulness Meditation

Michael Gervais: The Finding Mastery Podcast 

AppsHeadspace, 10% Happier

 

 

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