What is mindfulness? What is meditation? Are they really good for you? How?
First things first. Let us explain what mindfulness is. Mindfulness is the centring practice of purposefully focusing on emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations occurring in the present moment. You can sit on a chair, close your eyes, and become mindful of the sensations in your body, the thoughts going through your mind and become aware of your emotions. It can be that simple.
In these times of frantic multitasking, when we are expected to be hanging off our electronic devices almost 24/7 and promptly reply to e-mails, share photos as soon as they happen and experiences as soon as they eventuate, collaborate on projects, provide feedback, participate to surveys etc. etc., do the groceries, do pick ups and drop offs, pay bills, Mindfulness is an invaluable tool to stay centred and keep track of who we are, not only of what we do.
There are many styles and schools of Meditation. If we were to describe what Meditation is in a nutshell, we would say that it is the "practice of practicing" (excuse the tautology) no mind. We use the mind all day every day to work things out, understand what we are being asked to do, plan, respond to requests etc. etc. Meditation is about making some time to let go of the mind and sit in contemplation. Not thinking. And when the thoughts come, it is a matter of letting go. Instead of jumping on every thought train that stops at our station, consciously letting it leave without us, going back to our contemplative state.
Just take a moment to reflect on the fact that everyday the average person has 60,000 thoughts. Most of these thoughts are the same as yesterdays, and the day before and the day before... we seem to be prone to compulsive thinking, worrying and catastrophising.
Some people say they can't meditate because they can't stop thinking. Some people say they can't do yoga because they are not flexible enough. Both categories of people actually would get the most benefits out of meditation and yoga, if they gave it a go. They would become more able to sit in contemplation and less prone to compulsive thinking, less stiff and more flexible. These things, like everything else, only happen through regular practice.
Mediation and mindfulness stimulate and further states of relaxation and wellbeing. Regular practice (even if it is "only" a few minutes every day), can boost one’s vital energy, reduce stress levels and increase one’s awareness, as well as support the development of Soul qualities such as compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.
So... why bother doing Mindfulness and Meditatio? It is very simple.... why do you bother brushing your teeth every day and exercising? To keep healthy, and to live a long, full-filling life?
The number of research studies on the beneficial effects of Mindfulness and Meditation has been increasing exponentially year after year. Results indicate that these practises can help with regulating blood pressure and weight, lessening anxiety, impulsivity, stress, worry, fear, improving concentration and memory, energy levels, immunity and self-esteem, lessening brain and heart problems, reducing inflammation.
And if you are still not convinced... have a look at some of the Harvard studies around meditation.
For up-to-date info about our Mindfulness and Meditation classes, please click here.