Mindfulness, Buddhists often say, is the power of now. It teaches you not to regret what has happened in the past or worry about what’s going to happen in the future. A meditation practitioner describes mindfulness as the art of paying attention on purpose, without judgement, to the present moment, informs Navodita, our Yoga expert, in her weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Today, let us dwell on mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a concept closely related to being aware and conscious about your surroundings and feeling a harmonious part of the whole system. Hence the practice affects you not just internally but helps you become a part of the larger community around you in an inclusive sort of way. Here’s how to get started:
- Sit, preferably on the floor, on a cushion or a mat.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your throat and breathe normally and observe it.
- Make no effort to control the breath.
- Simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and how your body moves with each breathing movement.
If your mind seems to lose focus and wonder, then you simply have to try and get the attention back to your breath. This is simple mindfulness meditation which can be done for about fifteen minutes to half-an-hour.
Mindfulness has a lot of benefits:
- It helps relieve stress
- It treats heart disease
- It lowers blood pressure
- It reduces chronic pain
- It improves sleep
- It helps you get rid of gastrointestinal problems
Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving towards yourself. By practicing acceptance in your experience during your meditation, you become more receptive and easily accept whatever comes your way during the rest of the day.
Mindfulness, Buddhists often say, is the power of now. It teaches you not to regret what has happened in the past or worry about what’s going to happen in the future. A meditation practitioner describes mindfulness as the art of paying attention on purpose, without judgment, to the present moment. It is the development of a life philosophy, ‘we are what we are. It is what it is.’
Another yoga practitioner talks about the presence of chi, Ki or chakra energy as being the energy of the universe. This energy is everywhere and surrounds us when we wake up and we all are one because of this energy that binds us all together. The kind of meditation based on the right balance of chi around us is a bit different from mindful meditation; nevertheless, it brings a lot of relief and destresses the mind for a more harmonious living. It can also help you defend against sickness.
The main aim of this meditation exercise is to unify the body and mind and build a strong level of chi energy and awareness in your body. This one too requires the natural rhythm of the breath.
- Sit down straight
- Focus your eyes on a point directly in front of you and at eye level. The distance between you and the object should be around six feet. This step should last three to five minutes.
- Now shift your eyes to a point 45-degree angle down in front of you at a distance of around three feet. This step should last three to five minutes.
- Continue natural breathing while shifting your eye-gaze to a point directly between your feet; only tilt your head slightly. This should again last three to five minutes.
- Continue natural breathing and focus on a pint on the tip of your nose; the aim is to get the eyes look at the same unified point. Looking at your nose can make your eyes hurt sometimes, so move the gaze away for some time and get back after a few seconds.
- Now allow your eyes to close, still maintaining your closed eyes on the position at the tip of your nose. Continue breathing naturally and feel the air enter the nose and descend into your lower abdomen. The air should feel cool with each inhalation and warm with each exhalation.
- This step, too, should last three to five minutes.
- Continue natural breathing rhythm and listen to the sound of the air as it flows in and out.
- Continue breathing and shift your focus to your lower abdomen. Now with your eyes closed, imagine as if you are looking inward into your lower abdomen.
Keep still and do not move to avoid scattering the welled up chi energy. Now imagine the impurities leaving you as you exhale, and fresh oxygen and positivity entering with each inhalation. Now rub your hands and place the warm hands over your eyes. Bring your hand down to your lower abdomen. Do this three times and open your eyes slowly. Wait for the body to cool down before moving. This completes one cycle of the Chi meditation.
Practice this and we will be back with more forms of meditation next time.
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