Practiced for more than 2,500 years, mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist spiritual teachings of the East, although more recently it has found popularity in the West as a secular practice for well-being. I did a course in Mindfulness back in 2015, but more recently I have been trying to apply it to my everyday life - how I eat, how I work, how I teach yoga, and how I talk to and treat both myself and those around me.
But what really is mindfulness?
According to the NHS website, 'Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better.' As I understand it, mindfulness is the concept of being more aware and more 'in the moment' as you go about your life - so stopping to notice your surroundings on the way to work, looking up form your phone more often, really tasting the food you're eating, and noticing when the breath becomes short or forced. In yoga, we focus on the breath for the same reason - to stay in the moment and the here and now. 'Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.'
So, how can we use mindfulness in every day life?
Movement. Move with intent. Exercise, practice yoga, dance. When you're walking to work, focus on the sounds, sights and smells around you. Notice the colour of the leaves, the flowers growing.
Eat mindfully. Is this food nourishing you? Are you feeling full up? Slow down and chew your food, really enjoy what's on your plate. Eat a variety, and everything in moderation.
Take time for yourself. We're all so busy that we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves, whether that's knitting, sewing or crafting, reading a book or magazine, or going for a run.
Meditate. I use Headspace, which has loads of different guided meditations that can be used for different periods of the day, times of year and different focuses.
Recommended further reading -