What is it exactly?
Mindfulness is a simple user-friendly form of meditation that is getting talked about a lot at the moment because it has proven health benefits. Studies show the mental and physical health of meditators improves. Stress levels decrease and the ability to deal with stress increases. Less visits to the doctor, less depression, alongside faster reactions and better memory function are all proven effects of meditation. This is a great way to make a positive contribution to your health, as meditation is easy to learn and requires only a few minutes a day to get results.
Although associated with traditions from Hinduism and Buddhism, meditation is a simple training technique for the mind and is not in itself religious. It does not need to be practiced in any special yoga position or accompanied by music or chanting. It can be practiced simply sitting on a chair.
It’s based on paying attention to your breath. When you pay attention to your breath you will notice thoughts keep popping up and disappearing, replaced by more thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness training helps you see the changing nature of your thoughts and feelings and observe them without judgement. This “mindfulness” is the key to unlocking powerful benefits.
To get started sit on an upright chair, like a dining chair, with your feet planted on the floor and your spine gently lengthening upwards.
It’s good to close your eyes so that you are not distracted and sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Switch off your phone for a few minutes.
Rest your hands on your lap or on your legs. Now focus your attention on your breath.
Breathe in and out through the nose, pay attention to part of the physical experience such as the sensation of the belly rising and falling with every breath you take.
Or you can choose to focus on the slightly cold feeling of the air at the tip of your nose when you breathe in and the slightly warm feeling of the air when you breathe out.
Thoughts will interrupt and when they do, gently bring your attention back to the focus you have chosen.
You can start with as little as 2 or 3 minutes and build to around 20 minutes of meditation a day.
Sue shares her 25 years of experience as a professional chore-ographer and 15 years teaching Pilates, helping people to improve their physical health and fitness, correct faulty and painful movement patterns, achieve good posture, grow real core strength and increase their well-being.
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