Mindfulness Broken Down into Four Concepts
June 16, 2015
Hi Passion Fit Crew! I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying the summer so far. It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post, so I wanted to get another one out to you guys. Today, I wanted to discuss the topic of mindfulness and break it down for you into four concepts. It’s become a popular buzzword in the world of health and wellness these days, but I still think it’s an important topic to understand so you can incorporate it into your life if you’re interested and could help in becoming more centered, relaxed, peaceful, happy and in touch with your internal and spiritual self. I’ve been interested in mindfulness since I was in college and would often tell my best friends that one of my biggest life goals is to achieve inner peace. They would always laugh and say, “Reena, a goal like that will take you YEARS to achieve!” While that may be true, it’s still a personal quest of mine and therefore, I want to share what I’ve learned over the years in case it’s helpful to you.
I’ve read several books that cover the topic of mindfulness including, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, The Art of Happiness by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve also read some books on breathing and meditation, attended a meditation and yoga retreat, practice yoga regularly, started doing some training in yoga instruction, teach yoga to children and have attended the Widsom 2.0 conference in San Francisco to broaden my scope and understanding of mindfulness. In addition, my East Indian heritage has given me a lifetime of exposure to yoga, meditation and Hindu practices and traditions, which are all integrated into the topic of mindfulness in various ways.
Mindfulness is defined in the Merriam-Webster.com online dictionary as, “the practice of maintaining a non-judgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” While this is a fairly straight-forward way of defining it, here are four concepts that break down and best explain how to practice mindfulness in my opinion.
1. Focus on the present: While it’s natural to remember and reflect on the past and anticipate the future, one thing we can do to try and live life more peacefully is to focus on the present and allow ourselves to enjoy the here and now and the simplicity of our own being. Our family and friends will certainly appreciate it if we’re present with them and we may be more relaxed if we aren’t preoccupied, stressed or anxious with thoughts of the past or the future. The present moment is the only sure thing we have in life and is a gift for us to embrace and use all of our senses to fully see, feel, smell and taste it.
2. Breathe: Breathing is so natural and healthy for us. It fills our bodies with oxygen and allows us to be calm and relaxed. It centers us and actually helps us focus on the present. The best way to breath in my opinion, is to expand the belly when we inhale through the nose and pull the belly in when we exhale through the mouth. Belly breathing is not only something we can do in a yoga class, but it’s something we can do anytime and anywhere and is a great way to relieve ourselves of stress and stay focused on the things that matter most to us.
3. Free the mind: Freeing our minds is about letting go of negative thoughts, feelings and fears that really don’t serve us well at all. While it’s human nature to to have negative thoughts, feelings and fears, the more we can acknowledge them and then release them, the better off we could be in the long run. Sometimes we create our own stress and anxiety by our thoughts, feelings and fears and often times, they aren’t even grounded in reality. Therefore, being self-aware and trying to nip this type of thinking in the bud when it happens could allow us to free up and open our minds to positive, motivating, loving and peaceful thoughts and feelings so we could be happier, more productive and more mindful in our lives.
4. Be kind to ourselves and others: To be mindful is to be kind as well…kind to both ourselves and others. We can be kind by showing empathy, letting go of our egos and superficial thinking, being accepting, helpful and loving. Often times people aren’t kind to others because they aren’t kind to themselves. That’s why it’s so important to be kind to ourselves so we’ll have the capacity to be kind to others as well. We could have the ability to feel good if we practice kindness and it could help create a more peaceful and joyful environment around us within our families, friend circles, workplaces, schools and communities.
Well, that’s it for today, Passion Fit Crew. I hope these concepts are helpful in understanding and practicing mindfulness and feel free to apply them if you feel they could help you. The more we do these things, the easier they’ll become and eventually they could become second nature to us. I’ll be back with another blog post soon. Until then…Namaste. 🙂