Spending time with yourself is the key to mindfulness
Growing up I used to think mindfulness, yoga, and burning incense was suspect, and people who performed these ancient activities were lost & floating through life.
Unknowingly, I was introduced to mindfulness 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, I felt the benefits throughout my body, and started to have an increase sense on mindfulness.
As for the incense, well I just like the way it makes my house smell now…
I started to feel more relaxed, in tune, and ‘at one’ with my body as I became more consistent with a mindfulness practise. When I needed to make critical decisions, or found myself in a busy time in 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 my practise. But, every time I came back to it, I always felt stronger emotionally, spiritually, and physically when practising mindfulness, with an advanced ability to enjoy life’s moments.
Over the years, how and why I practice mindfulness 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 release program (MBSR link)
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 mindfulness (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 are 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.
If you’re lost on how to start your mindfulness training, here are my top 3 ways of how I practise being mindful.
Breath Counting – focussing on your breath, and counting each one internally.
Walking Meditation– clear your mind and focus on each step you take and your surroundings.
Body Check– deeply listening to my body, checking from head to toe, paying attention to areas that feel tight, sore, or restricted.
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. I hope you become more connected to yourself and truly hear what your mind, body, and spirit is telling you.
Other resources to help you
Jon Kabat-Zinn: Guided Meditation
Podcast: Michael Gervais – Finding Mastery