Mindful Meditation

There are three basic aspects in this meditation technique: body, breath and thoughts.

Body

You need to find a space where you can sit, comfortably, with no added stress or tension being placed on any part of the body.

Perform a ‘body scan’ and notice where you are holding tension. One way to help reduce muscle tension is to tense muscles in turn and then consciously let them relax. Feel the difference, and take some time to allow each muscle relax.

Notice where the ‘centre’ of your body is… well do you feel your strength comes from. This could be interpreted as your bodies centre of gravity, but may feel like something different to you.

Be aware of the sounds of your body; your heartbeat – soon you will notice your breathing.

Breathing

Notice the rate, pace and position of your breathing. Feel your body react to each breath, the rise and fall of your chest, your diaphragm, the filling and emptying of your lungs.

If you want change your breathing pattern; perhaps in through the nose and out through the mouth; perhaps breathing in – holding for the count of two and breathing out for the count of three.

Notice how each breath effects your body, your awareness, your feelings, your sense of alertness.

Slower breathing may equate for you with feeling more relaxed or more awake.

As you breathe in, tense any muscles that still feel tense and then, on the out breath, allow that tension to relax.

Notice how your posture and breathing are linked…

Find the posture and breathing style/rate/position which allows you to focus on the now.

And then become aware of your thoughts…

Thoughts

Notice how your thoughts are chopping and changing direction; how your awareness is shifting moment to moment.

Rather than trying to limit your thinking, just follow the rambling flow of ideas. Notice that they can flow like a river; follow that river see where each though takes you.

Becoming aware of your thoughts and how they can be influenced by your breathing, your posture and your environment.

Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor.

If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens.

Coming back to the ‘here and now’

Become aware of your feet, then a specific sound outside of yourself – perhaps in the room, building or street outside.

Sit for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are.

Get up gradually.

There’s a real link between breathing, physiology (posture), internal state and performance.

These exercises are about finding that link.

Try to find ten to fifteen minutes each day to practice this mindfulness technique.

As you develop a better sense of how this works for you, try to put it into practice in your daily routines. When walking notice your breathing, how your muscles tense and relax as you walk. Notice the way your body interacts with the world around it; how each foot fall contains information about the surface you are walking on.

Mindfulness meditation is not simply about sitting still and being quiet, sure that is part of the practice, but being mindful and present in the ‘now’ is the ultimate aim.

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