Mind Full or Mindful ?
The dictionary definition is, ‘aware of something, focusing on the present moment’.
But how can we achieve this? Is it easy?
Well, when I first started going to yoga classes, obviously I had no idea about what savasana meant, what to do when you do savasana, lying down without moving or thinking… it sounded crazy. I used to open my eyes a couple of times checking what other people were doing.. whaaat? Still laying down without moving… I also used to think about millions of daily tasks, or something that happened earlier or what I was doing later that day, trying to organize my day in my head just to pass the “quiet” time. But that is called MIND FULL !!! not mindfulness 🙂
But aren’t we all the same?
Our lives are busy… from one meeting to another, from work to home, home to school, school to endless courses, work to yoga or gym classes. Like a robot. We do so much stuff during the day and our brain is kind of programmed and knows what to do next while we are thinking about a completely different thing. Plus may be our fingers are wandering through social media at the same! This is what we do all day long. So, when it comes to winding down time, our brain gets confused. Now what? Just lay down and stop thinking?!
Our brain says, “You want me to think all day like a crazy person, lots of things at the same time, multitasking all day but now, DO NOT MOVE A MUSCLE AND DO NOT THINK!?”
It is a big thing.
How can I do it?
Actually, I remember thinking myself, “I want to do it”. For a couple of mins I don’t want to think anything. But how? How can I do it?
The answer is practice.
Mindfulness is a thing that we can teach to our brains.
The more you practice it, the more your brain will learn it, and the more you are going to be able to do it. And in time you are going to get addicted to it. Because your brain needs peace. Your mind craves for a break.
This is a good addiction!
So, I mentioned savasana before in this post. But what is it exactly?
Savasana is a yoga posture, and generally all yoga classes finish with it. Basically, you just lie down on your back in a comfortable position, with your legs slightly apart, relaxed head and neck, hands open each side of your hips, palms facing up and closed eyes. (You can practice mindfulness in a seating position as well.)
The idea here is to become aware of the present moment. When you first start to quieten your mind, well may be I should have said when you first TRY to quieten your mind, you are going to find it very hard, because as I’ve said your brain is used to thinking about several things at the same time. So, that is okay. Just accept that situation. But be aware that you are thinking this and as soon as you realise that, try to focus on your breath. But belly breathing. That “navel” we hear in yoga classes all the time but we don’t understand what the hell yoga teacher meant!
The navel is our belly button. Every time you breath in, you are going to push the belly button away, expand your tummy, and when you exhale you will empty your stomach,and the bellybutton (navel) is going to go towards your back. This is also called diaphragm breathing. This will help your nervous system to calm down.
If we go back to our original subject, which is how we can achieve mindfulness, you just need to practice it every day. When every single day you start to do it, your brain will start to learn the pattern. You might start with a couple of mins each day but you will soon see that time will increase, and you will be surprised.
While your brain is learning how to empty your mind, you will actually learn how to BE in the present!
To start learning mindfulness while laying down in savasana, or seated in a relaxed position, bring your attention to your breath first. Your mind will start to go off and wonder whatever is in your mind at that time. That’s ok. Be aware of it and as soon as you realise it, bring your attention to your breath again. Let this happen a couple of times. It will help you to quieten your brain in the meantime.
This was what my experience with savasana anyway. But also, this is how I learnt to concentrate on my breath and empty my mind.
Hope it helps to you too. Choose to be MINDFUL, not be mind full! 🙂
Aysegul | March 2019