"A single conscious breath is a meditation" - Eckhart Tolle
The secret to daily mindfulness is to make your practice, varied, relevant and fun. If it lacks those elements it will fall away, stagnate or bore you. Here are some suggestions to keep your daily practice fresh:
I like to integrate physical exercise and mindfulness activities into my morning routine, it goes something like this:
I sit on my cushion with a cup of tea and for five blissful minutes I look out at the garden, the clouds, the birds, and the world, following my breath, and noticing what is arising within me.
On my mat, I bend, yawn, fold and open allowing my body to teach me today’s unique yoga routine, perhaps ending with a shake and a few jumps until I feel energy flowing through every cell.
I do ten reps of three exercises that I know well and require no equipment.
Back on the cushion for a silent sit of 5-25 minutes. I choose a practice that accords with my current challenges or just listen deeply.
I complete five sentences by speaking them aloud, just saying what comes in the moment:
- Today I am committed to:___
- Today I will make my contribution by:___
- Today I am most grateful for:___
- Today I let go of:___
- Today I forgive:___
DURING THE DAY
Research shows that mindfulness is most effective when practised regularly and frequently. It is therefore going to be beneficial to weave some mindful moments into your day. I like to do this by selecting a set of Mindfulness Cues which prompt me to take a Conscious Breath. Here’s how:
The Conscious Breath
- Centre yourself in your intention to take a Conscious Breath.
- Inhale slowly, allowing the full focus of awareness to be on the physical sensations of the breath.
- As the inhale peaks and then slows, witness the small pause that precedes the exhale.
- Now slowly exhale with full presence attending on each and every physical sensation. Ride the exhalation as it dissolves into silent thin air.
Start by picking three cues:
- One Sound: e.g. the phone ringing
- One Object: e.g. a post box
- One Person: e.g. your nemesis, your baby, your dog
Then, each time one of your cues arises in your day, simply take a Conscious Breath. It takes just seconds, but will keep you coming back to centre, as life happens around you.
Try adding a gratitude practice into your evening routine. After all, gratitude is the secret to joy! In a journal or Notes-App, write down three things at the end of each day that you are grateful for.
Remember: Life is in the details.
Learn how to notice the small treasures.