7 Days of Mindfulness: Day 1

At Ecofolk, we have always insisted that one of the key ways of practicing conscious consumption is by practicing mindfulness everyday. With The World Yoga Day approaching us this weekend, we felt that this is the right time to kick-start the 7 days of mindfulness blog series – a very simple beginners guide to start practicing mindfulness for a week, everyday, starting with just 10 minutes a day.

Why practice mindfulness?

Wikipedia says “Large population-based research studies have indicated that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health. Studies have also shown that rumination and worry contribute to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and that mindfulness-based interventions are effective in the reduction of both rumination and worry.”

 

So practicing mindfulness is known to lessen stress, anxiety and improve your health. It helps us pay attention, get the most out of our lives. Speaking from personal experience, the practice has helped me become more tolerant, less judgemental and kinder in general. Mindfulness enhances memory, empathy and alleviates stress. And, it is a universal practice that has nothing to do with organised religion or dogma of any kind. It can be practiced by anyone, anytime & anywhere.

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[We don’t own the rights to this image, but it is available for free use, to our knowledge]

 

Day 1

Time needed: 10 minutes.

It is recommended that you set a timer that goes off at the end of the 10 minutes.

Preparation needed: A quiet place to sit.

Step 1: Choose a comfortable position and close your eyes. Rest your hands gently on your knees or lap and keep the upper body straight, tall like a mountain. Keep your chest soft and break into a  smile.

Step 2: Bring your attention to your body and rest easily. Breathe gently as you become still, bringing awareness to your breath – Observe it as it comes into your body, as it leaves your body.

 

Step 3: Keep your breathing-rhythm natural, don’t try to change it in any way. Just keep observing it – as it flows in and out. Follow the breath. It is easier to follow it, wherever it feels the strongest – it might be the rise and fall of your belly, the expansion and contraction of your lungs, or the warm sensation on your nostrils.

 

Step 4: Wherever the breath feels strongest, bring your attention to that point and concentrate on it fully. Follow it all the way to end of inhale and as the inhale comes to end, follow it out to the exhale. keep your mind concentrated on just the breath, nothing but the breath.
Keep doing this, till your timer rings.
You will find from time to time, your mind will wander off. It is a very common experience among early practitioners.  Whenever that happens, let yourself gently return to breath, without judgement. Allow your thoughts to appear and pass-  like clouds traverse the clear skies. And repeat this process when required.
It is also common to find sitting in stillness difficult at first due to our constant inner chatter. As you sit, you will find yourself thinking about all kind of things. You might be wondering if you are any good at this. Don’t worry, this is the nature of mind. Once you learn how to still the mind, practice becomes easier. Each time you breathe in, recognize “this is my in-breath” and “this is my out-breath”. Practice this with a relaxed concentration.

And as the practice finishes, keeping your eyes closed, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, notice how your body feels. Let me reassure you that as you continue this practice, it will feel more and more familiar. There is just one catch! Similar to exercise  mindfulness involves regular practice –  the longer you stick with it, the easier will it become.

On that note, bring your attention back to the room.

Congratulations of completing day 1 of practicing Mindfulness!
Join us tomorrow for Day 2. 🙂
Have a great day
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