Mindfulness Meditation is a training of a calm and focused attention in the present moment, using the breath or a sound as an anchor or something else to reconnect with our own inner calm. We observe turbulences from a distance, rebalancing inside. Mindfulness is a kind and gentle approach to take care of ourselves.
Our Breathing technique is based on Thich Nhat Hanh. Through Breathing out slowly we breathe less frequently and have more oxygen in our body. People under stress, anxiety or pain breathe more quickly and less regularly. Meditators have a slower breath, indicating reduced automatic responses, better mood and improved health: James Nestor „Breath-The New Science of a Lost Art“ 2010. As we breathe the abdominal organs rise and fall 1 to two inches, Danny Penman pointed out in his book „The Art of Breathing“, 2022, pumping oxygen through our lymphatic system and transporting out toxins, massaging organs like the liver and joints of the spine. The gentle Rising and Falling of the breath stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore has a calming effect when we are agitated. When you feel without any energy it is better not to to breath deep and slow. It is important not to change your breath forcefully, observe what is feeling good for you and get in touch with your breath. If your breath want so stay short, let it be short.
In Mindful Breathing we focus on our Breath, following our whole In-Breath and following our whole Out-Breath. Aware of Breathing in. Aware of Breathing out. So simple, but something we are not used to, as we mainly breathe without being aware of it and we are not maintaining attention in daily life very often, as we are distracted many times by our thoughts. Focusing on the breath improves self-regulation, the capability to concentrate and to calm down. However it might be challenging to focus on your breath, in this case chose something different to focus on. Stay within the zone that makes you feel stable, present and regulated.
In our Breathing Spaces we use the breath as an anchor to ground ourselves in the present moment, we call this technique Anchoring. But for some students it might be challenging, you can use another kind of anchor as well: my voice or a sound, in our Audios we use a soft sound of rain in the background or birds. Or you can use an object as an anchor or the mental notes you will learn. During the practice, thoughts will keep popping up. This is normal, this is our restless mind. We just return to our anchor each time we lost attention, gently and kindly, without blaming ourselves. Lost attention- Coming back. That’s the practice.
We do the same with sounds, sensations, emotions, if they are not overwhelming for you: Attending and releasing again, gently and kindly. Becoming aware of the stories our mind is creating and Letting go of the pst, the future, worries, fears, plans, projects in our mind. If something arises, that feels too stressful or painful: See if you can shift your attention. Attending overwhelming stimuli can lead to a freeze response out of fear that is frightening and produces more fear. Therefore the Mindfulness rule to attend in present moment experience cannot be the right tool, if the person is exposed to traumatic stimuli or memories. They should get used to it slowly with in person support of a trauma specialist. (David A. Treleaven).
If some stressful sensation, emotions or thoughts arise, see if you can shift your attention away from it and focus on on your Safety Anchor.
Or stop the practice and if needed: get in touch.
You can use a Safety Anchor as a stabilizing anchor of attention, a place that feels safe for you. That can be your breath in the nostrils, your hands resting on your legs, your feet on the ground, the birds sound, a cushion, on object with a special meaning to you, or a mental image or a mental note. For each person it is something else. Start with your practice with your Safety Anchor and return to if if you feel stressed during the practice. The more tangible the anchor is the easier it is to return to. (David A. Treleaven). Slow down the practice if needed, the frequency of the practice and the duration and do not put pressure on yourself.
Contraindications for Mindfulness:
There are medical conditions such as asthma or migraines, emphysema or heart problems where meditation and breath work can not be the right tool. Talk to your doctor, if you are not sure. There are psychological conditions like acute trauma do or Depression that should be treated in person psychotherapy. Send us a message to get more information, if you are not sure, if Mindfulness s the right tool for you at the moment.
“Every time we return our attention to our breath and our step, it’s as if we wake up.“- Thich Nhat Hanh: How to walk
In Zen Monastery Settings Mindful Walking has the same value as Sitting Meditation. For Thich Naht Hanh Mindful Walking was the essential Meditation Practice to bring us back in the present moment. The instructions of the Buddha are often very helpful for their clarity. For Walking Meditation his advice is: When Walking, I know that I am walking. Sounds simple, but that is something we are not used to: Each step is worth of our attention. Like we already practiced awareness of each In-Breath and awareness of each Out-Breath.
Normally, when walking we are not conscious of our movement. We are walking like sleepwalkers. Our mind is running in several directions. A moment lost, many lost moments during the day we could use to reconnect with ourselves.
In Mindful Walking we pay close and careful attention to our body movement, the sensations of the feet on the ground, the moving of the legs and hips, aware of every single step, in touch with our our breath and the ground we walk on, moving in a soft and gentle way. Imagine walking for the very first time or after a long time of recovery. You can explore different paces with time, chose the one pace that helps you stay present and grounded and use the moment of putting your shoes on and off for a mindful moment and some deeper breaths.
Walking Mindfully is always available. You can practice any time you walk, even from one room to another or outside. If you are in your office the whole day, try to move mindfully. You can walk to your workplace or back to your home mindfully. It is a good idea to commit to a distance you walk on a daily basis with Mindful Walking and combine it with Mindful Breathing and mental notes that are helpful for you.
If you have found your own Mindful Walking rhythm, you can practice outside in a quiet surrounding.
Send us a message to get more information about our class Nordic & Mindful:
Be kind to yourself & get in touch-
Mel, Mindfulness teacher at Nordic & Mindful
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