I have been interested in mindfulness for almost a year. Last summer, I went to my library and took several books and audio CDs out on it by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle. I listened to the CDs in the car and thought wow, this is a complex discussion. I agreed with the concepts and then thought I should try these ideas out. With all the other activities in my life, the idea of trying mindfulness was put aside. I created so many new routines in the last year – green juice, shopping organic, yoga and pilates practice, walks in nature, attending school, doing this blog, keeping a daily gratitude journal and creating fresh wholesome meals that I was not ready to be still.
Lately, a message that has been delivered to me from my yoga instructor, school, friends and family is to stop trying so hard and to be kinder to myself. To take a moment to breath. I like to challenge and push myself, so taking advice to take it easy is hard. But when all parts of your life send you a message, you have to hear it and take action.
So last night I attended a mindfulness class at Kula Yoga in Oakville. The course is six weeks long with a daily commitment to 30 minutes of homework.
The course last night was different than I expected – frankly I did not know what to expect – but it was still different. We did a short mediation of 10 minutes that was painful to me. I just wanted to move my body, my mind was very active and the minutes seems to drag on for hours. We then had a bit of group discussion, got to know each other a bit, and learned about the foundations of mindfulness.
- Non judging
- Beginner’s mind
- Non Striving
We were told to remember the acronym COAL – Compassion, Openness, Acceptance and Love. I wrote on my sheet a big heart that said SELF LOVE. Being kinder to myself meant I had to give myself more Love.
After our discussion, we then did 20 minutes of yoga that required good breathing Then we got comfortable and did another 15 minutes of mediation. This was when I knew for me, to get to mindfulness I needed to get to yoga and pilates first as this is where you learn to really breath and to focus on your movement. By focusing on my breathe I could still my mind. And oh did my mind want to dance. The creative ideas that flew inside my head had me smiling all night – they were funny and far fetched. Maybe a signed that I need to include more laughter in my life. Apparently we will learn about what these thoughts mean in one of our classes. The second 15 minutes of mediation was much more enjoyable that the first 10 minutes.
My homework is to try to meditate for 10-30 minutes each day until next week. We are also to listen to a sound that we usually hear and force yourself to be present in the moment as we hear it. And finally, we are to take one everyday activity and do it at half speed and be in the moment then too. I accomplished all of them today first thing in the morning.
However, today when I did my yoga practice at LA Fitness with Marianne, I realized that I was not present during Savasana – I was too absorbed in thinking about my daughter’s email from Chiang Mai, Thailand (she is doing great). So this will be lesson for me going forward -doing the homework to get it done may not be the best way to experience mindfulness.
I need to live in the moment in all parts of my life.
For now, I am grateful that I have six weeks to practice mindfulness and to create new habits.
May you find time in your day to be present.
Jo-Ann Blondin, your 9CupChallenge partner.