What is Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is defined as the impartial awareness of ones inner and outer experiences practiced moment by moment.
Here is an effective mindfulness meditation exercise from Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief, a book and audio set by Julie Lusk. Try it out and let us know how it goes. Your questions (and answers) are welcome!
B…R…E…A…T…H…E for Mindfulness *
This mindfulness meditation provides seven steps for practicing mindfulness with a twist of meditation. The word “breathe” will help you remember each step. Take your time to fully experience each of the steps before going on to the next.
Release muscular tension.
Engage and Expand your awareness.
Alert to sounds, sights, and smells. Awareness without naming.
Think positive thoughts.
Here and now.
Enjoy the moment.
Why: Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Diane Poole-Heller reports that research has shown that the benefits of a mindfulness meditation practice helps develop all 9 functions of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This happens by practicing 20 minutes daily for only 8 weeks.
- ANS Regulation – Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Balance
- Attuned Communication – felt sense of other’s experience
- Regulation of emotions
- Response flexibility
- Insight – self awareness
- Fear extinction – GABA fibers to amygdala
- Intuition – deep knowing
How, When and Where
Mindfulness can be practiced formally by closing your eyes and sitting up straight as in meditation for 20 or so minutes. This builds up your capacity for mindfulness while also developing your brain. It will lift up your energy and lower stress levels. Your productivity will improve, your emotional fuse will lengthen, and your ability to enjoy living is enhanced. Your whole day will go better, even in the midst of stress.
In addition, mindfulness can be practiced informally as well. This is when you practice moment-to-moment awareness during your day-to-day activities. To get started, simply shift your attention to whatever is happening while it happens. For example, impartially check in with sensations from your body (cool/hot, tense/relaxed, etc.), notice how you feel, impartially naming the mood you’re in, and noticing how your emotions are being expressed physically, and by becoming aware of whatever thoughts are taking place. Practically speaking, this is done by taking time, for example, at meals to really look at your food and consciously smell it, taste it, and chew it. Throw in some gratitude if you wish. Or, take a few moments to feel the sunshine, to feel the actual texture of your pets fur or listen to whatever sounds are happening – all in a non-evaluative and nonjudgmental manner. This also goes for noticing however you’re breathing and the level of tension or relaxation that’s present in your shoulders.
* Reprinted from Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief by Julie Lusk