How does your typical day start? Do you start slowly enjoying every personal minute or do you slowly but surely already get distracted by the urge to check your favorite social pages, e-mail, texts and to-do list? As your day goes, does this pattern continue; creating fragmented thoughts, an exhausted and unproductive brain and sometimes emotional stress?
Type A is the label they give us; the Eager Beaver, the productive one. Our behavior is good for business; bad for our total being. I have been practicing yoga for 8 years but only recently have I discovered the true importance of quieting the mind first thing in the morning. Some people call it meditation. Simply put, it is cultivating mindful awareness.
Here are 5 simple steps:
Wake up 10-15 min earlier. Settle down, do your morning routine calmly and mindfully. Feel gratitude for every second. Resist the need to check your mobile device or think of your to-do list. This 15 minutes is your “Me Time”.
Set a space that is quiet, preferably facing nature or natural light. This space is your personal sanctuary.
Sit comfortably. Sit so your lower back is released and front hips are open. You can do this by stacking 2 blocks or pillows on the floor, high enough so as you sit on them, with your shins touching the ground and your hips sit high to create a greater than 90 degree angle between your front thighs and torso. If this is uncomfortable, sit on a regular chair, assuring your feet comfortably touch the ground and your lower back is supported.
Practice mindful awareness. Close your eyes, clasp the palms of your hands over each other, with the tips of your thumbs touching. Gently place your hands on your lap. Practicing mindful awareness is a “feeling” exercise, not a thinking exercise. It’s feeling the sensation of the present moment.
Start simple. Draw your focus inward by observing your breath. Observe and feel the rise and fall of that breath as it expands your belly and chest on an inhale and contracts the belly on an exhale. Another way is focus on a single sensation. Feel your shins against the ground. If thoughts come in, gently let them go like passing clouds in the sky.
Cultivating mindful awareness is finding awe in the simplest, most taken for granted marvels of our human body. Mindful awareness is bringing the mind to the present moment, the only moment that counts, and the only moment where we can find true joy.
Cultivating mindful awareness is finding awe in the simplest things.
5. Practice daily. Practicing daily is more important than practicing long or practicing perfectly (an oxymoron!) Start with a 3 min session. See where it goes.
When we do things mindfully, we do not burn out so easily and we creates calmness that lasts throughout the day. And think of the possibilities as we get even better!
What has your experience been?