Finding Stillness: How to practice mindfulness in your day to dayMar 15, 2022
Being present in our everyday lives is something many of us forget to do. The woes and worries of our busy schedules leave us with little time to contemplate and unpack how our minds are wired and a way to let our brains relax. This post will hopefully give you a bit of insight into how to practice mindfulness by yourself, and how it can benefit you in your daily routine.
Why does relaxation matter?
Society doesn’t want us to sit still, we are constantly told that to be ‘busy’ makes us more successful and that being still makes us lazy, unambitious, boring, selfish. Strong, high-energy practices are a big part of what we love at R1SE but slowing down can have so many benefits.
We live in a permanent state of high alert – our phones are always pinging, we work hard, we play hard. There is rarely much time to be still and do nothing (note watching Netflix does not count as doing nothing). As a result of our modern-day lifestyles our nervous systems are operating within the stress response state. This takes its toll on our bodies and our minds.
Taking time to practise mindfulness can:
- Reduce stress
- Help with anxiety, chronic pain and depression
- Sleep better
- Improve concentration
- Live more in the present
- Enhance self-awareness
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be defined as simply focusing your attention on the present moment. This can be done in many ways, but the key is paying more attention and noticing more about right now. This could be taking a moment to consciously breathe in and out. It could be noticing the contact between our body and the floor as we sit in a yoga pose. It could be really looking at the colours in the park as we walk home from work. Being mindful is something that we can do every second of every day.
Mindfulness and meditation are often used interchangeably, but I like to think of meditation as time to sit and train the mind to be more mindful. There are hundreds of different ways to meditate, but many focus on the use of breathwork.
While meditation has been practised for millennia, breathworks is a new term. Breathwork is conscious, controlled breathing for therapeutic or meditative purposes. You may know the term pranayama from your yoga practice. Breathwork and pranayama are often used interchangeably, though there are a few subtle differences. Breathwork takes inspiration from pranayama but has a more modern-day scientific backing and a therapeutic aim. Whether it’s relaxation, oxygenating the body better, calming the mind – there is more of a specific goal. This is in contrast with pranayama which goes alongside our physical yoga (asana) practice to take us closer to enlightenment.
How can you practice mindfulness?
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness, but here are some tips on how to practice in its simplest form:
- Find somewhere to sit that will be quiet and calm
- Give yourself a set amount of time to practice, this can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, just do what feels best to you and remember you can always build up your practice over time
- Take time to notice how your body feels, make sure you are in a comfortable position that you don’t mind staying in for a long period. You can sit in a chair or on the floor, wherever you feel most at ease
- Make sure to keep in contact with your breath, follow the sensation of breathing in and out
- Your mind is sure to wander when practicing mindfulness, when you notice that you are no longer focussing on your breath and the sensations of the body, quietly bring your mind back to focus
- Be kind to yourself, especially when you first start your practice, if your mind falls to other things, it is not the end of the world, and the more that you try to better your life with the practice, the more improvements you will see
Hopefully this post will have inspired you to have a go at practicing mindfulness and give your mind a little bit of calm and meditation.
If you are interested in following the practice with other people and trying it out in a workshop, R1SE is hosting a Finding Stillness mindful workshop on the 7th April. This workshop is designed as an introduction to mindfulness, meditation and breathwork. So, if trying to start your practice alone seems a little daunting, this will be perfect for you! You can CLICK HERE to find out more about booking on!
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