Mindfulness has been around for over two thousand years, but only in the last two decades has it become more popular in the west. People such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat Zinn have been responsible for its growing popularity. In a nutshell, mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgement. The past is gone, a memory if you will, and the future is nothing but a prediction or a speculation that may or may not occur. That being said, many of us tend to spend most of our time reliving the past or thinking about the future. This can cause anxiety and stress. This is where mindfulness can help. To some mindfulness is a practice to others it is a state of being that can be achieved through practice. Since we all create our own truth, we would recommend reading about mindfulness, asking questions, and discussing it but more importantly we recommend experiencing it.
"How do I experience mindfulness?" One way is to start your practice on your own. We suggest starting your mindfulness practice by focusing on the breath. To begin simply sit in a comfortable upright position (no slouching), or lay down and pay attention to your breath. We recommend you close your eyes to assist with the focus. Do not try to change the way that you breathe, simply continue to breathe in and out naturally focusing on your breath. Some people focus on how the air enters through their nostrils providing a cool sensation and how the breath exits the nostrils warmer than it went in. Continue to breathe normally keeping your focus on the breath. Your mind will wander. Become aware of the thoughts coming to mind and let them go by gently returning your focus to the breath. Do not judge yourself, your thoughts or your mind. Simply accept what is happening and focus on the breath. After about ten minutes (you may want to set an alarm) or when you feel that you have had enough, open your eyes and smile.
"So what will I get out of practicing mindfulness?" This is a common question asked by many who are interested in the topic. Well, there is a long list of benefits associated with mindfulness practice which includes but not limited to relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, reducing chronic pain, improves sleep, increases self awareness, compassion, and helps people become happier beings. In future blogs we will discuss more of the philosophy behind mindfulness. For now, just take in the experience.
Thank you for reading and please visit us at Pura Veda located in San Juanillo Beach, Costa Rica.
Until the next now, blessings