We lead stressful lives today. We run from task to task, we even multitask! Life can seem like a never-ending stream of “to-do” lists, which never seem to get done. And what’s worse, we’re often made to feel guilty, by others, or even ourselves, for not getting everything done. Self-care, time for pleasure, rest, reflection—all get lost in the shuffle. Yet, we know this is not a sustainable way to live. It will inevitably lead to burnout. So, before that happens, here are a few techniques worth squeezing in to our schedule. They only take 15 minutes
- Choose a “down time” location, like the subway, in the shower or making a meal.
- Shift your focus to your breathing, and pick a single aspect to focus on.
- Spend at least 15 minutes in this state of awareness.
Focusing on a single sensation can help still a racing mind. Focusing on the breath can also lead us to breath more slowly and deeply, leading to a slower heart rate and a more relaxed state.
- Choose a convenient meal time when you won’t be expected to socialize.
- Eat slowly, focus on each sensation of your first bite in turn : smell, see, touch, sound, taste.
- Immense yourself in the richness of the practice of eating and try to eat your whole meal slowly.
Taking time to appreciate the small things we often miss can liberate us from ruminating on our daily concerns. It also improves digestive functioning, reduce overeating and weight gain.
- Set aside at least 15 minutes in a quiet, open and airy space for your yoga practice.
- Instead of treating your practice like a session at the gym, treat it like a meditation where you bring your full awareness to both your physical and emotional sensations as you move through the poses.
- Observe how the physical sensations from each pose give rise to emotional sensations like released tension leading to relaxation, or even feeling like pain leading to frustration.
Mindful yoga ads a physical element that provides a boost of energy and positive chemicals in the brain. Also enhance concentration and improved memory and performance.
BODY SCAN MEDITATION
- Set aside a time and place in your day where you can sit comfortably and you won’t be distracted or disturbed.
- Find a comfortable but attentive seated position, close your eyes and bring your attention to your toes.
- Working up from your toes, bring awareness to each body part in turn : your feet, ankles, calves, knees, etc. up to your head
Body scan meditation encourage self awareness of sensation we might be ignoring and also reduce stress, decreased muscle tension and increased pain tolerance.
Now many of you may be confused about the definition of mindfulness… It isn’t about trying to attain some sort of nirvan or enlightened state. It’s exactly the opposite : ACCEPTING AND EXISTING IN THE PRESENT, WHATEVER THAT PRESENT LOOKS LIKE. Mindfulness is essentially awareness. It is the practice of sustaining awareness of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and external environment in the present moment.
The best way to get most out of your mindfulness practices is to perform them regularly.