Mindfulness in your exercise program and in your life.
Now that you have begun to move forward full speed ahead into your exercise practice and are advancing in your ELDOAS and Myo-fascial stretching techniques, I want to introduce to you a new technique…one that will help you enjoy your life even that much more. This technique is called Mindfulness! Now…what in the world is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a joyful and easy technique that all human beings are capable of practicing. It is simply the practice of awareness, observation, and acceptance. You have already begun to find awareness in your body by practicing healthy exercises that change your posture, allowing you to move more efficiently in your life. You can tell when your ears are over your shoulders or when your chin is sticking up to the sky…but now, lets take one step further. By using the breath as your guide it is possible to become aware of the sensations in your body, the thoughts that flow in and out of your mind, and the emotions that come along with them…while simultaneously being at peace with them! By experiencing this awareness you can become awake to your life, and empower yourself to make choices to create the healthy life you want to live.
Benefits of Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness will leave you feeling more productive and energetic in your daily activities and will help you to sleep better at night. You will gain better awareness of your body and how certain foods, emotions, and even thoughts affect your body. Mindfulness allows you to become harmonious with your experiences and helps your stress and anxiety levels to decrease. You will learn to become present, find more gratitude in your heart, feel more joy and peace, and essentially find a greater sense of fulfillment.
The 4 Steps of Mindfulness in Action! How can we be more mindful in our lives?
Step 1: Awareness of the breath!! The breath is the magical key!
It is very common to live our lives thinking about the future. Humans are constantly planning, looking at the clock, rushing from one place to the next, feeling overwhelmed, or feeling anxious when experiencing conflict or other stressful situations. If you find yourself doing these things, remember that you can slow down (even if it’s just for one minute!!) and focus on your breathing. What does the texture of your breath feel like? What does the breath sound like? By focusing on the spaciousness between each inhalation and exhalation you will reconnect to the NOW moment. This will help you find a sense of presence, peace, and acceptance and you become more efficient at the task at hand. You can practice breath awareness during meal times, walking, driving, working, communicating, and exercising. Once you connect to the breath you can SLOW DOWN enough to become aware of your surroundings, thoughts, and feelings.
Step 2: Awareness of thoughts!!
When you connect to the breath, you are able to slow down and actually accept the experience that you are having. This acceptance helps you to realize that IT WILL PASS. While focusing on the breath, you may begin to notice your thoughts floating in and out of your mind. Often times it is easy to get lost in the loops, and sometimes you will be able to come back to the Now moment within the breath. Eventually, you will realize that these thoughts are not actually you but are only a rising and passing part of your present experience…Thank goodness! By being aware you can actually create empowering and positive thoughts that will help you enjoy your day and motivate you through challenging situations (Like your ELDOAS!!).
Step 3: Awareness of emotions!! “What am I actually feeling right now? Whatever it is, it’s OK!!! I am human!”
Humans experience a wide range of emotions! Let them be felt! Once you become aware of what you actually feel, you can practice observing the breath and accepting the feeling that you are having. The breath is present, and the emotion, like everything else, is rising and passing. Know that your emotions, like your thoughts, are not who you are, but they are part of your present human experience. Being aware of your feelings will help you clarify your needs and you can consciously proceed forward.
Step 4: Awareness of Sensations!!
Our thoughts create emotions, and emotions create sensations in the body. At the same time sensations in the body create emotions, and emotions create thoughts! They are all connected! And each one influences how we move in the world: who we think we are, how we respond or react, how we communicate, and how we contribute to the environment around us. Being mindful of sensation in your body will help you understand where you hold tension, stress, and emotion. Experience the rising of sensation and watch as it passes away through each mindful breath.
When you practice mindfulness you may begin to notice things you hadn’t before…the sound of birds singing, the sensation in your belly during a conversation with a new friend, the taste of the incredible spices in your food, and even the beautiful hummingbird as you walk from one place to the next. Awareness empowers you and awakens you to each experience in your life. Enjoy!
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