By: Karen Bergen B.A. (Hons); RMT; CAT; M.Ed. & Author of “Overcoming SAD: The Happy Hippie Yoga Chick's Guide to Beating Winter Flip-Out”
Mindfulness is easy. It’s about paying attention on what you are doing in this moment. It’s simple. We are all capable of doing it.
But in this day and age of cell phones, an increased workweek, and scheduling family life, paying attention to the current moment can be difficult. So, in order for us to become mindful, we need to practice it.
I know the word ‘meditation,’ seems vague. However, the word meditation just means “a practice in mindfulness.” In particular, a meditation is, “a designated time of focus on the current moment.” Meditation means focusing on awareness and engagement in the current moment without distraction from future or past events.
Moreover, living in the present moment is about being in the now without any expectations. When meditating, don’t worry if your mind wanders, just focus on your breath. If something arises in you, just observe it and return to your breath. Know that losing concentration is normal. If your mind wanders, bring your brain back to the moment and carry on.
Want to give it a try?
Get into a position that feels good and groovy for you. Remember, throughout all of this, if your mind wanders, bring it back to this present moment, right here and now.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Bring your awareness to whatever feelings that you are experiencing right now. Spend this moment discovering how you are feeling. What ever you feel right now is fine. Acknowledge it, without passing judgment.
Notice all feelings and sensations, acknowledging them all, not judging them. Settle with these sensations.
Notice the scent of the air. If these smells bring back memories, don’t engage in these thoughts; just let them pass.
Notice the temperature of the space you are in. How does your body feel here? Again if your mind wanders let the thoughts pass, and bring your brain back to current time.
Become aware of any sounds. Acknowledge them. Don’t address them, just breath into the moment.
Now bring your focus to your feet. Notice any sensations that you experience. How do your feet feel? Acknowledge the connection between your feet and the rest of you. Acknowledge if they are touching the floor, or are tucked up beneath you.
Continue to breathe slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now bring your focus to your lower back. Notice any sensations you experience. How does your lower back feel? If your mind wanders, accept it, and allow your thoughts to go. Bring yourself back to the current moment.
Now lightly rest your hands on your abdomen, bellow your belly button. Notice the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe. Focusing all your attention here. Notice every sensation that you experience. If your mind wanders, bring your focus back to the rise and fall of your abdomen.
Continue with this technique and relax your body as you focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen. Observe, witness and experience every sensation.
Bring your focus to your chest. Notice any sensations. Watch and experience these sensations. Feel the movement as you breath, and if your mind wanders or engages in any other thoughts, let your thoughts go, and bring your attention back to your chest.
Bring your focus to your face and notice any sensations. Are you relaxing your mouth, jaw, eyes? If your mind wanders or engages in other things, bring your attention back to your face.
Now just remain where you are and continue breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. On your next inhalation, stretch your body in whatever manner you can. If you can, stretch your legs out and reach your arms up above your head. Exhale.
Mindfulness is about being aware of our whole selves in the current moment. Often, when I find myself stuck in my head, or really lacking presence of mind, I hold my breath. “Karen, breathe!” And I do, eventually.
When teaching yoga, I call my head, “the penthouse of my being.” I live up there way too often, and often forget I own the whole building, which is my body. However, an exercise into mindfulness motivates me to breathe into my body, and become aware of the present moment. Life does not happen in the past, or future. Life is now, and our whole being should be as well. Because, after all, when we are not being mindful, we are being mindless. Not a great alternative.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.