As I have written before, practicing mindfulness is a form of meditation that allows your mind to be in the present moment. To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the here and now. Mindfulness is a wonderful way to be totally aware of each and every experience you have. Many different athletes and fitness professionals use the practice of mindful meditation in both their sport and day-to-day living.
When you start meditating, you will notice how stubborn the mind is when you try to keep it clear and focused in the here and now. A very good question for those of you who have not tried or mastered mindful meditation is where do you start?
Here are a few simple tips on how to start meditating. This approach has worked very well for me and perhaps they can work for you.
1. Your Posture
Place yourself in a quiet and comfortable space you can be undisturbed. Sit quietly in a chair or on the floor with your body in good postural alignment, sitting straight but relaxed and not stiff.
2. It is in your Eyes
I have been offered both eyes open and closed as the best way to meditate. I find having my eyes open allows me to be more in the moment. What is important is to be comfortable, so do what seems most natural for you. It’s good to experiment and see what feels right for you.
3. The Breath
Put everything out of your mind. Just concentrate on the act of breathing in and out, nothing else. Pay close attention to the way each breath enters and exits your body. Stay absolutely focused on each breath. Do not think of anything else. If this is difficult, try counting in then out of each breath. This will very quickly allow you to find your mindful meditated state and hold your mind from wandering off out of the moment.
4. Tinkering Thoughts
Once you have put everything out of your mind you need to gently keep those thoughts out. You can keep them from coming back by returning your focus to counting your breaths. It is best to just relax and allow yourself to let go of thoughts. It works best to just let them slip away in a peaceful calm fashion.
Meditation is best done when life can take a break and be in a calm, relaxed state. If you’re struggling with strong emotions like sadness, anger or fear, your mind will be at it’s toughest to control. I very much like the following quote “We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us.”-Epictetus. Remember, strong emotions tend to fire up your brain to find solutions or imagine outcomes of things that are bothering you. What I find helpful is to imagine the happy dog that nothing seems to bother. Okay, I know it's silly to imagine yourself a happy dog, but hey if it works…
6. The Music in Silence
Sitting quietly is in my opinion the best way to practice mindful meditation. There are many different opinions on the use of new age or meditation music to set a calming tone in meditation. But I find that the simplicity of sitting quietly works the best for my mediation.
I truly believe that letting go, finding my center and slowing down with meditation makes living in the moment easier. I think you will be amazed at how much easier workouts and runs become when you clear your head and find yourself relaxed and in the moment. Here is another great quote that sums it up nicely.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”-Lao Tzu
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.