How to practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being aware of the present moment, being in “NOW”.
There are several ways in which one can bring mindfulness into their lives.
Let’s discuss some of them:
1. First & foremost, we must acknowledge the fact that mindfulness practice is not religion based, contrary to the belief.
So being a secular construct mindfulness, it has no bearing on religion, caste, sex, gender, status etc.
This is the most difficult part of following this practice. It’s science and when was the last time you heard that science is not secular?
2. If you have understood point 1 then , let me congratulate you on a fabulous beginning. You are on your way!
Breath is your anchor – this is something you have to not only believe but keep repeating this to yourself nth times everyday.
Make it a part of your daily ritual.
When was the last you breathed? No, don’t laugh on the question! Rather think about the first answer that came to your mind.
Was it “Just Now” ?
Let me put you another question. How do you know you breathed “Just Now”?
Seriously, don’t laugh at the question but think about your answer/s – ” I am reading this” or ” I am alive” .
If this is what you answered, think again – You have been just breathing all this while and not noticing your breath at all!
Noticing your breath is an easy task while you let your mind wander into the universe of thoughts but it’s an extremely difficult task without letting yourself into thoughts!
This feat can be achieved by practicing. Let’s do one right away!
a. Pull yourself a chair and sit with your back straight, hands on your thighs, shoulders & neck relaxed and feet on ground. To complete your posture, you can either close your eyes fully or keep them half open.
b. Take one or two trial breath. Simply inhale through your nose and exhale from your mouth.
c. Once you are comfortable, start with the practice. Inhale & exhale form ONE set of breath. Do 9 such sets by keeping the count.
Don’t worry about perfection yet. You soon will be!
d. Now, the catch here is – If during inhale/exhale, your mind wanders to thoughts, no matter on what count, come back and restart from One. For example, your noticed thst your mind is wandering when you were completing 3rd set, restart from 1st set again.
e. Do this till you reach 9th set without any thoughts!
Yes, this is difficult but with regular practice, it will be a cake walk.
3. You want to try another one!
Ok, let’s do it.
a. Since we all are confined to our homes due to the current pandemic, please find an open space in your balcony or terrace ( However, this is best done outside in a park or someplace like that * Disclaimer – The mention of practicing in the balcony or terrace would be deleted once the lockdown is lifted)
b. Pull a chair or you can sit on floor also and keep the posture same as above except your hands.
The hands will have a role now!
c. Before starting the practice, ensure you pick up some small stones (if available) or Rajma (Red Beans) or even Chana (Chickpeas) or groundnuts.
d. Once you are seated in posture, hold all the stones/marbles in one hand and pick up one noise from outside, any noise.
e. Stay with that noise for as long as it exists. However, should your mind wander or that noise fades, shift your marbles to the other hand, all of them.
f. Pick up a new noise and repeat the above process. Do this for 10 minutes to start with.
These exercises will help you build focus, resilience and will keep your mind in control.
Remember, the mind’s job is to think and it does its job very diligently. So thoughts will continue to come but the practice will teach you 2 things:
a. Not all thoughts are important and you can chose to be with or keep the good thoughts only. This is wisdom!
b. Whenever you are doing something important and your mind wanders – Be sure to return back to your breath.
Because - Breath is your anchor. Your present moment! Your NOW!
This is how you can start to practice Mindfulness. Happy practicing !