|Image and quote By Tania Franco|
Mindfulness is being present each moment, acknowledging your thoughts, sensations, feelings, situations and other things as they are right now.
Practicing Mindfulness taught me how to love and accept myself as I am in each moment.
I am a flawed individual who makes mistakes, just like everyone else. Thinking that I would love myself when I was finally able to be continually kind or act according to what was right was forever elusive. Somehow I would never be this ideal of myself.
I accidentally stumbled onto practicing mindfulness without even knowing I was practicing it. It occurred organically, little by little. When a regular practice of mindfulness allowed me to feel that “I love myself as I am right now” it was the loveliest gift I could ever have given myself. And that is what this practice offers everyone.I first began by practicing yoga.
The funny thing is that this discipline is not meant to be practiced only for an hour in class, it’s for you to apply it’s teachings in your everyday life. I would say that through this training I learned foundations for mindfulness.Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Breathing will allow you to focus, relax, be present and get through difficult postures.
What is my body telling me right now? Doing different postures, it’s essential to listen to your body’s cues and to identify when you need to push yourself to do a particular pose and when you need to be gentle and strengthen certain muscles before you can try it.Be patient with yourself. Am I sweet and gentle with myself or am I pressuring and ordering myself to do this and that? In yoga we are exposed to different stretches, some are easier than others. Some require complete concentration while others will feel more natural. Patience is essential. Noticing how you handle the different situations will allow to progress.
I was introduced to cognitive reframing.This practice supports you in changing unhealthy thoughts into healthier ones by listening to your inner dialogue. In order to do that it is essential to be present.
If I am thinking about the past (or future) I am missing out on this moment. I lose my power to change things if I am not here in the now. Tuning in to the present is very empowering. I became curious about meditation, bought a couple of books and began my personal practice.
The first year was the most difficult. I had a racing mind and could not find solace drowned in so many thoughts. This is why many people are uncomfortable with meditating. It was really uncomfortable but thankfully my tenacity allowed me to keep at it. After one year of meditating I finally had a moment of peace and silence and I was aware of it! I continued by exploring with teachers, CD’s and trying different types of meditation until I found what truly worked for me.Along the way I learned that whatever I felt, thought, or occurred in my life was OK. The less I struggled to change things and accepted them, the paradox of change occurred: Things changed.
Accepting things as they are.The more I try to push or hide feelings, bury thoughts, or experiences that are uncomfortable the more they persist. As I accepted things as they were I began to accept myself as I am. Mindfulness encompasses all of this and more.
As I practice, I continue to learn. The benefits are not in the knowledge but in the practice. If this resonates with you, and want to give these practices a try, begin by asking yourself throughout the day one of the following questions:
- What sensations are the strongest in my body right now? Where do I feel them and how do they feel?
- How do I feel right now? Am I sad, mad, scared, happy, or at peace? If you don’t know, it’s alright you are practicing.
- Am I breathing? If not, take a few breaths.