‘A yoga class at 9.30 am’
‘Prepare morning meals before 9 am’
‘Oh no, the phone is running out of battery, need to charge it’
‘ Keep a close watch on the rice cooker, the grains should not be under or over cooked’
These are just a few of my interwoven thoughts every single day within first two hour of waking up. This number goes up to 100 and more during rest of the day.
So, I often ask myself ‘What did I do to become mindful today’?
At times, I trick my yoga students with a question about the difference between meditation and being mindful. Most of them understand that Meditation and Mindfulness are the same state.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the Mindfulness Guru, explains mindfulness as a state of paying attention to one’s inner self, emotions, thoughts and breath in a moment without adjustments or judgement. Just pause and observe yourself for a minute or two – don’t move anything to make that moment perfect. Meditation, as I understand and have extensively read about, is a tool to attain mindfulness in life.
Yes, a bit tricky, I know it gets hard to differentiate the two just how it is hard to separate salt from water unless it is boiled on a high degree.
Practice is the key to start experiencing the difference between the two states. I agree that I have a huge expectation here when I say, practice – Who has the time every day to pause and reflect? Sit in Meditation for hours. It is so difficult to sit and do nothing.
I understand. I am a yoga teacher, I have time. Unless, I practice it myself how can I make anyone else think about trying it? That would be unethical, Isn’t it?
So, I comeback to YOU – the one reading this blog and still holding to it. What can you do on a daily basis to march a step or two closer to becoming more mindful on a day – to – day. My 4-point something of daily mindfulness bites are as under:
- Mindfully Drink Your First Morning Beverage: We are at our calmest as soon as we wake up. If you are someone, who gets up early, has the time (only 20 mins- I promise) and likes to have a rise and shine drink (Juice / tea /Coffee/ Keto concoctions, whatever it may be) please don’t gulp it down. Drink it sip by sip – enjoying the aroma, the taste, the energy that it is passing downyour throat to the belly – drink it slowly. I bet on this bite! I do it – almost every single day after waking up for I don’t know how many years now but I do it. The power I feel in my body and mind (no, not the caffeine punch) the control over my thoughts and the space in my head is non-negotiable. My sensory to observe the nature, the sounds and all the other things in my room is super active in these 20 -30 minutes. I can claim that these 30 minutes have shown me a sense of direction at many intervals in my life since the last 10-12 years. And yes, I usually (9.5 times out of 10 times) don’t talk – The mute connection happens only between me and my cup of tea and in every sip of it. Also, if you have a favourite corner in the house, drink the first beverage of the day sitting there if possible.
- Mindfully Express Gratitude: if you are someone who really does not have time for a morning ritual mentioned above, there is another bite for you that actually – WORKS!!! Simply say ‘Thanks You’ to people during the day – the catch is – say it Joyfully and Mean it from the heart. Often, I observe the expression of saying Thanks or Thank You being used without any feelings in a robotic manner. Though, we have come a long way from not using it at all or scarcely saying it, we need to better ourselves at using for our own joy. A simple exercise that I do sometimes is that I sit down comfortably, close my eyes and after a few seconds, I begin to breathe deeply. On every inhalation, I mentally say – Thank You and on every exhalation – I mentally say the person’s name. In every exhalation, I thank a different person or a place or an experience. Now, there is no number to this practice or one does not thank someone who did something on that day. It is one’s free will to thank anyone from any other time of life. Depending upon the time and your intent, you can thank from a person to 50 people in a sitting. Every time, I do this practice, I experience a sense of euphoria in me. I feel that my expression of gratitude becomes much more powerful than it is at other times. While, it is always good to extend your gratitude to someone in real time, secretly sending kind and warm wishes towards them can be equally gratifying.
- Mindfully Laugh: I accept that I am always biased here but who wouldn’t agree that laughing is good. Since I got trained in laughter yoga, laughing is a whole new serious health concept and a ritual for me. Don’t I enjoy it? More than ever – mindful laughing has had some deep impacts on my personality including the high confidence, I experience in my life. Laugh every day – don’t just pass a wry smile – laugh with joy on things that make super sense to you and on things that are too idiotic for you. If you can’t find a reason to laugh then read a joke or watch something funny. Laugh with people who matter and also laugh heartily with people who often don’t cross your path. Laugh Mindfully as much as you can and whenever you can.
- Mindfully Donate: Donation of money is helpful but not always. Sometimes mindfully undertaken small donations like laughing with a stranger in the day, offering a spot in the queue in a store, spending one hour in a week / month at a neighbourhood school, mentoring some one for free, joining a plantation drive, assisting someone in food preparation for large gatherings, making connections for someone, giving a weekly off to domestic help out of turn etc. become much more powerful than a cheque carrying few zero digits on it.
Mindfulness does not always have to come on a yoga mat with hours clocked in trying to fight away thousands of thoughts. Small daily bites of mindfulness go a long way in shaping our personalities as more mindful and more in harmony with self.
Do you have a daily mindfulness bite to share with me and others? Look forward to reading it in the comment section below.