The basic concept of mindfulness is pretty straight forward. It's about taking a moment to put down our juggling balls. It's about embracing the beauty of monotasking. It's about bringing our awareness outward. Author and instructor Jon Kabat-Zinn has described mindfulness as, "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally."
Although the contemplative practice has its roots in several of the world's major belief systems, you don't need to subscribe to any particular religion or philosophy to experience mindfulness.
The American Psychological Association cites mindfulness as a hopeful strategy for alleviating depression, anxiety and pain. However the effects go much deeper than just boosting mood and perception. Mindfulness practice can shrink the brain's jumpy "fight or flight" center, the amygdala. Change your thoughts, and maybe you can even change your brain.
I often hear people say, "I just don't have the time" or "I've tried but I just can't ever stop thinking". Well, here's the thing... Practicing mindfulness is just that... a practice. Just five minutes a day in your car before walking into work... Turning your awareness inward as you walk down the sidewalk noticing the dense humidity and the way the air feels as you take a breath... Listening to the sounds around you or noticing what you are feeling in your body... That is practicing mindfulness. And sometimes it's the simplest things that are just so transformative.
I am always pleased to incorporate a bit of guided mindfulness into your bodywork session. I also offer decompression time before or after sessions if you would like to incorporate this practice into your session alone.
Maybe you are interested in cultivating this practice on your own but aren't really sure where to start? Here I will provide a list of on-the-go apps that you can download to your phone so that you will have a mindfulness coach at your fingertips whenever you need.
-- This app has bright graphics and solo or guided meditations. $4.99 on iTunes and $2.99 on Google Play
-- Created by a trained Tibetan monk, this app is designed for improving relationships as well as your health. Free on iTunes and Google Play; memberships start at $12.95/month (I have personally found this one to be great for beginners.)
-- Great for a mini escape. Customizable background scenery and noise. Guided or solo sessions -- some free, some for a fee. Free on iTunes and Google Play; subscriptions start at $12.99/month
-- Traditional guided meditation practices as well as video yoga sessions. You can input your mood, your intention and the amount of time you can spare and this app will give you the most fitting option. Free on iTunes and Google Play.
-- Choose your preferred interval time, ending bell sound and ambient noise. Free on iTunes and Google Play.
Enjoy! Feel free to share your own experiences or practices below!
Peace and Love!!
By Appointment Only