What does it mean to be mindful?
According to Webster’s dictionary, it means: “A technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them: The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.”
Wow. If that doesn’t seem too hard to do, you might be surprised! With all of life’s distractions and stress, focusing your full attention on the present can actually be quite difficult. Throughout Yoga Pod’s Mindful May 21/31 Day Challenge, we challenge ourselves to bring more presence into our day by showing up early to class and investing some extra time in Savasana (Corpse Pose). 21 classes, 21 intentions, 21 moments of being present.
It’s more intuitive to be mindful and present during a yoga practice. You naturally have less distractions. You’re listening to your breath and paying attention to your movements, which are all present things. But what about incorporating mindfulness into your day-to-day life outside the yoga studio? How do we establish a continuity between the focus and mindfulness we achieve on our mat, and our hectic, stressful lives outside of the studio? I have found that following a few simple steps throughout the day can help bring awareness and mindfulness to my life.
In those moments when distractions begin to overwhelm, I stop what I am doing, take a deep breath, observe my surroundings, feelings and emotions and then I proceed. This may take 2 minutes or may only take a quick 15 seconds. I take as long as I need to regain perspective, to find my center. I think about whether or not I’m using my time wisely. Am I appreciating the moment? Imagine if you could rewind your day and watch the replay. What would you do differently? What did you miss because you were distracted? In order to stay the path of mindfulness, ask yourself two simple yet valuable questions–“What do I really want here?” and “What can I do right now to express or move towards that?” It’s so important for actions to align with our inner compass. Set your intention. This is the true key to achieving mindfulness.
Achieving mindfulness is not always as simple as it sounds, but it also doesn’t have to be that difficult. I challenge you today to try the simple steps and ask yourself the two valuable questions. See what happens!
“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.”
-Francis Bacon Sr.
Photos credit: OmLight Photography