How to Start A Mindfulness Practice
Featured on The Essential Life
Getting Started With Mindfulness
If you are interested in Natural Wellness & Holistic Healing practises you have likely heard about the practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging & accepting one's feelings, thoughts, & bodily sensations. Mindfulness is being aware of your inner & outer environment as an impartial observer, allowing you greater insight into the origins & implications of your thoughts & feelings.
What are the benefits of Mindfulness?
Practising Mindfulness has many benefits to both the mind & body, including reducing stress, increasing concentration, strengthening connections with others & achieving a better handle on both physical & emotional pain. Practising Mindfulness can greatly improve your quality of life, but how do you get started? There are many ways you can incorporate Mindfulness into your daily routine, but dedicated Mindfulness meditation is a great way to get started practising Mindfulness without any distractions.
Tips for Getting Started With Mindfulness Meditation
Getting started with Mindful Meditation is easy. You do not need any special equipment or a special environment, all you need is to set aside some time in a quiet & comfortable place. Once you are comfortable & ready to begin the goal is to bring your mind completely into the current moment. Let go of all thoughts of the past, of the future & concentrate on the present.
Set Your Body up Properly
Being in a comfortable position is essential, you can be sitting or standing, though in the beginning a seated position is prefered to provide one less distraction in having to balance.
Posture is very important when meditating, You should be seated in an upright position, holding the natural curves of the spine but holding your head high, shoulders pulled back & down, & chest up. This posture opens the airways & gives a sense of inner confidence & self-worth. Your head should be relaxed with either your eyes closed, or open & focused on the ground slightly in front of you. Keep your gaze soft & avoid being overly distracted by the environment. Rest your hands on your thighs, palms can be up or down depending on comfort, & relax your arms. Once you are comfortable you are ready to begin practising your Mindfulness Meditation.
Use Your Breath as an Anchor to the Present While You Meditate
It is very difficult to let go of thoughts & stresses without something to focus the mind on. An excellent tool for meditation of all kinds is steady, deep & rhythmic breathing. As you inhale & exhale focus on the sensation of your breath as it enters & exits your body. Notice the feeling of air moving through your nose, the rise & fall of your ribs, the sounds of the air rushing out as you exhale.
Focusing on your breath will help quiet the mind, & bring you into the present moment.
Be Aware of Your Environment
In addition to using breath as a focal point, you can also use awareness of your surroundings to bring your mind completely into the present moment. By focusing on all the minute details of the environment, such as the feeling of the fabric of your clothing against your skin, the scent of any aromas you can smell, & the pitch of sounds you can hear, you can become truly present in the moment.
Just be aware of attaching judgements or making connections to outside events from the stimuli you are focused on. The goal is to calmly accept your inner & outer environment without letting it influence you. Remain an impartial observer.
Be Patient with Your Practise
It can be very difficult to quiet the mind & focus on the present. In the beginning your mind will wander to all manner of distractions, & this is perfectly fine.
As thoughts of the past & future & judgements on objects or events enter your mind simply let them go & bring your focus back to your breath. In the beginning distractions will be numerous & it is easy to become discouraged, but do not lose heart.
Meditation is not something that comes easily & must be practised every day. Two sessions of 10 minutes per day is an excellent benchmark for someone new to meditation & will allow ample practise of the art of Meditation. As you become more adept at focusing your mind you can begin to incorporate Mindfulness into parts of your daily routine such as brushing your teeth, walking or sitting in traffic.
Mindfulness is excellent for combating stress, & is a fantastic tool for maintaining general mental Wellness. Have a look at our other posts on Mindfulness for more information about practising Mindfulness & stay tuned to our website as we publish a new blog daily.
If you have any questions or comments about getting started with Mindfulness, make yourself heard in the comments. You can also contact us via email at info@TheEssentialLife.org. We would also like to invite all of our readers to make their mark on The Essential Life by becoming a contributor. If you would like to share your words & wisdom with The Essential Life community & you'd like to see your articles featured here on The Essential Life blog, please submit your articles here.