Mindful into the new year

The year is running so fast. Already over. The new one is already waiting. Only one more night. It often seems to me that especially the last month of the year – December – passes faster than the other 11 months. And even though the time seems to be so short, a lot has happened since January 2019. For me, it was the year of diving deep into mindfulness. And this is what I want to write about this time. my last post of 2019 is a post about mindfulness and my new passion: Yoga.

Mindfulness became a very important part of my life since a few years. Travelling was definitely my inspiration to start practice Yoga, Meditation and mindfulness. It was not easy for me at the beginning and I struggled on my way a few times. I lost interest in exercising Yoga, I got frustrated because I could not stop my mind of thinking.

Travelling helped me to learn how to stay in the moment. When exploring a new place, I am so much more aware of my surrounding. On the contrary, in daily life we are so used to see the same things everyday that we often stop paying attention to it.

Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” – Nhat Hanh

The roots of mindfulness

During the last years, mindfulness became modern again. What used to be classified somewhere in the fields of Buddhism, Hinduism and spirituality is now suitable for everyday use, even though the roots stay the same. Mindfulness describes a non-judgmental, positively oriented attention to our senses, sensations and experiences. It means to be mindful of the arising feelings without rating them into good or bad and without trying to change them – something that is actually rare in today’s society.

Not changing it, but accepting it

We live in a world in which most circumstances can be changed easily: It is too dark – switch on the light. Too cold – turn up the heating. Too warm – switch on the fan or air conditioning. Too quiet – music. Too loud – earplugs. Easy. We constantly compare the “actual” with the “target” and adapt one to the other. Mindfulness seems to me somehow to be the opposite of what we are used to do. And that is what can make it so difficult especially at the beginning.

How to practice mindfulness

What is mindfulness? How to practice mindfulness? There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as Yoga classes, special “mindfulness courses” and meditation. But you can although practice in daily life.For example you can practice mindfulness even while commuting to work. Perceive your surrounding without dividing it into categories such as “too warm” and “too cold”. When it is cold, the cold is perceived without evaluating it as negative or trying to change anything about it. Just be aware of what you feel and perceive. An easy way to practice mindfulness is to focus on the normal breathing as well practicing one of the many special breathing techniques. Getting aware of breathing in and out. Resting the mind for a bit.

My experience with mindfulness

Nowadays, I do Yoga on a daily basis and meditate at least once a day, sometimes even twice a day or more often. I tried different ways of meditation such as guided meditation and gong meditation. Every morning I start with a quick sun salutation which does not take longer than five minutes. If I do not get the time to go to my Yoga class, I really miss it and feel the difference within myself. That is why I try not to miss out. My friends already know that I sometimes cancel a meeting to go to Yoga class instead. Focusing on my breathing for 90 minutes, connecting my mind with my body and getting out of the modern world into my own little Yoga world feels like making a present to myself everyday. You will not feel the difference straight away. It needs some time. I really made myself go to a class at least once a week at the beginning. I wanted to get rid of my back pain and become a bit more flexible. I was not really looking forward to the classes as I did not know the poses. All the different names made it hard for me to focus on anything: I was looking over to the others and tried to copy them most of the time. Step by step, I started to get better in following the teacher and focusing on my movements and my breathing. It just happened. One day, I arrived ways to early at the class. I had a bad day and felt sad about many things. As there was not much to do but waiting for the class to start, I sat down on my mat and focused on my breath. I meditated by myself. And it really calmed me down. Since that day, it became a routine to meditate. It was not my intention to dive into it so deep but I am on the hook of Yoga as much as I am on the hook of travelling. I find it easy to practice mindfulness with Yoga but for sure, we all have our own ways of doing it and there are so many possibilities.

“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness goals for 2020

I do have different intentions for 2020, but definitely want to keep practicing Yoga and learning some more Asanas, getting more flexible and learning more about Yoga in general. For sure, my journey of travelling will keep going and I will take Yoga and Meditation with me.

What about you? What is your way to mindfulness? How do you practice it and what are your experiences?

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