How to bring yourself back into present moment awareness: what does it all mean?
In this blog I wanted to bring some clarity to how mindfulness can help you, what mindfulness can do for you, what mindfulness is on a practical level and how mindfulness can help you at work, in your relationships and most importantly the relationship with yourself.
What is Mindfulness?
A dictionary definition of mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”. Mindfulness is simply noticing your own thoughts and feelings, situations around you and having an experience of being an ‘observer’ in situations rather than simply being directed by your thoughts.
The fact that there is an observer as well as our thoughts may be news to you if you have never practiced meditation and yoga. Often our mind can dictate our lives and it is not until you come to a place of stillness through, for example, a yoga class or meditation practice, that you can become aware of other parts of your ‘self’ besides your thoughts.
Why do we need to include mindfulness in our day?
There are so many distractions and stimuli in our everyday world which ‘entertain’ our minds, that it can be rare to have time or space to listen to the quieter wisdom within us. When was the last time you were in a place which did not have Wifi, T.V, a mobile phone signal and possibly the sound of traffic?
It is not until we take ourselves to such places in nature that we realise how busy our minds truly are. I’m sure you know the feeling of spending a few days in a peaceful place and thinking “Why was I worrying about that”? and suddenly things become less of a worry and we promise ourselves that we are not going to go back into the stress mode again and then sure enough, a few weeks later our break becomes a thing of the past and we are back into it again.
For me, practising a yoga class gives me the same feeling of having been on a break. I get to stop being on the wheel of busyness and give myself time to empty and res(e)t myself.
This feeling of endlessly going being on a path of busyness is named Samsara in buddhism. Samsara is a Buddhist term describing the endless cycle of pain and suffering we experience as human beings.
The Endless Wheel of Samsara
As Sogyal Rinpoche in the ‘Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ states,
“Modern society seems to me a celebration of all the things that lead away from the truth, make truth hard to live for and discourage people from believing it really exists. It actually starves it of any real meaning; that endlessly speaks of making people ‘happy’ but in fact blocks their way to the source of real joy”.
However when make time for a practice which connects us to our inner stillness, balance and our true source of joy we can gain a sense of clarity and vitality.
We may notice how we have been led by fear, worry or anxiety about either something that has already happened or a perception of something that is happening in the future. To be in the present moment can bring us into a lovely space where we feel a sense of knowing that the choices that we are making are being made by our wisest self, our highest self.
What are the benefits of practising Mindfulness?
Yoga and meditation help us ‘practice’ being mindful as we observe our body and how it feels, our breath and how it moves in the body, our thoughts and probably how busy they are and eventually our more subtle energy which is more than just our physical body. I say eventually as this was my experience but it may be different for you.
Common benefits of practising being aware in the moment are:
- Reducing anxiety – Yoga can help you connect to your anxiety and use your breath to let it release. Acknowledging it’s presence and accepting it is the first step to feeling the emotion reduce in your body and mind.
- We become more trusting and accepting of others. The wonderful thing about accepting yourself and your feelings, emotions and thoughts is that it creates more kindness and compassion to trust and accept others.
- Increased cognitive function – As we connect to what we are doing on a moment to moment basis you will find that you will have greater concentration levels as you are not ‘multi tasking and surrounded by distractions’. This has been proven to help you recall information too.
- We experience greater self worth and self appreciation. If we don’t observe our thoughts we may not recognise old patterns that tell us something that we may have heard earlier on in life that stuck as a belief for our lives today. When we become still we can listen out for these thoughts, or they present themselves and we can acknowledge they are no longer true for us and we can choose a new and more fulfilling thought. Examples could be how we feel about our bodies, where we are in life, how much we have to do, our relationships. The list is truly endless.
- We can connect with a deeper and wiser part of ourselves. When we connect with this part of ourselves we have access to answers to questions which can lead us to a more fulfilling and enjoyable everyday experience.
If you’d like to start practising more mindfulness why not join me on my 6 week Live Mindful Practice Online Yoga Course starting on the 10th September 2018.
Each week I will talk about a different aspect of developing Mindfulness through your Yoga practice and then you’ll have access to a class to practice this throughout the week.
Mindful Practice Online Yoga Course Content
This lesson is designed to take start to connect you on a deeper level to your whole body and begin to bring your mind & body awareness back to the present moment. The key principles of this class are core stability and alignment.
This lesson a restorative class. Restorative Yoga nourishes you and helps you restore your energy and vitality for life. This is a great class for when you need to slooooooow down. The key principles of this class are connecting your movement with your breath and bringing an awareness into how you are holding your body.
This lesson is designed to help you gain a deeper awareness of your spine and your movement abilities. The key principle in this lesson is creating both strength and flexibility in your spine.
This lesson is designed to explore lengthening through your body in postures and how to create more clarity in your mind as we lengthen. We focus on the Dog posture in this class. This posture replenishes physical vitality and as an inversion refreshes the circulation to your eyes and brain.
This lesson is a shorter lesson to bring strength and flexibility into your thighs and the trunk of your body. Yoga is a wonderful tool to help release emotions we hold in our body which can lead to anxiety and stress. The key principle in this lesson is to use Yoga to release tension and emotions from your body therefore reducing anxiety and stress.
This lesson has been designed as a quick fix to bring you back into feeling strong and connected. The key principle here is building strength and stamina in body and mind. this helps us to build resilience and cope with everyday life from a calmer and balanced perspective.
To join and take part in the classes simply sign up to our Monthly Membership. Your 1st Month is only US$1 to try out the first 4 weeks & US$20 for each month you choose to continue as a member. You are free to cancel at any time. Join here.
For more information about this course and other online yoga courses and lessons you’ll have access to as part of your Monthly Membership head on over to our Courses Library