Do you hear the voices in your head?
"I tried snowboarding once, it didn't work for me, I went right back to my snow-skis, because that is what I knew, and it was easy for me. It required no effort, as I started skiing at 3 years old."
As a yoga instructor, I find it very interesting observing my students in class. I can always tell who is in their head, interacting with the voices and the constant movie reals of past, present and future, and who is truly in the moment, practicing mindfulness.
This is also evident on my massage table. Even is someone is laying perfectly still, not saying a word, their body gives the mind away every time.
Most of my yoga practice is based on healing my body and my clients bodies from the perils of aging and years of lack of movement and improper body mechanics, creating imbalances in the body and chronic pain.
In plain English, this means that most of the poses are done seated or reclined, and are held for 2-5 minutes. I guide my students through mindfulness meditations, teaching them to turn their attentions to the sounds, smells, sensations of the moment, allowing the movie reel to disappear and the clients to become aware of their minds, bodies and how they move and use their bodies on a daily basis.
Becoming aware is the first step to creating change. Without awareness, we do not know what needs to change.
This is an incredibly hard concept for many people to understand, and even harder to implement, especially if you are use to the voice in your head taking the reigns. I know all too well, firsthand that these voices lie, and make poor choices.
Mindfulness mediation is being talked about everywhere. There are tons of studies confirming that it works to decrease blood pressure, increase better sleep, and improve health overall.
Frequently when I approach people about meditation, I get the standard response... "I tried it and it doesn't work for me."
I tried snowboarding once, it didn't work for me either, I went right back to my snow-skis, because that is what I knew, and it was easy for me. It required no effort, as I started skiing at 3 years old.
Mindfulness requires practice! Yes, we have to practice not interacting with the constant movies and voices in our head, we need to practice becoming the observer.
Mindfulness comes in so many ways.... it does not have to be sitting in lotus pose, with your eyes shut, saying "ooooooooommmmmmm."
My first practice with mindfulness was actually through music and my playlist. I had no idea at the time, that I was using mindfulness to help alleviate stress, but looking back now, that was my start.
My playlist was comprised of songs that gave me happy feelings, nothing negative. I love to dance and sing, so when I was upset over something, or I would head for my playlist and play the music loud enough in my house or through headphones, to drown out the voices in my head.
As I would listen to the music, I focus on my breath flowing in and out of my body, the timing of the song, the words and sounds. No time to think about my problems, I was busy in the moment.
Depending on how upset I was, and how big the issue, sometimes this worked more quickly than others.
Today, I practice mindfulness under the ocean, while I scuba, which is by far my favorite way, but of course, this is not something I can do every day, all day. There is nothing in the world to me that is more relaxing than feeling the pressure of the breath under the water flowing in and out of my body, while the rays of light from the sun touch every object, watching the sway of the plants and animals in the current, while the sound of the breath is all encompassing and the feeling of the tiny bubbles of air pass over my skin. This is truly my heaven on earth.
Mindfulness is nothing more than being 100% in the moment, and with practice, you will find your heaven on earth as well.