Mindfulness, Meditation, & Yoga
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Our sense of reality changes with perception. Do you ever notice certain individuals who are facing challenges and yet somehow seem to keep their cool? Or others who have a tendency to stress out easily?
It is easy to get lost in time dwelling on the past (what happened, what should have or could have happened) or worrying about the future (what’s going to happen). When we get caught up in the past or future, we are not able to enjoy NOW.
We believe one key to living life joyfully is finding the delicate balance of mindfully staying present in the moment while also keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Mindfulness based practices including Meditation, Yoga and Laughter Yoga teach us to be present and to connect to the inner peace within.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
Penny Burns, owner of Meditate 4 Life: http://www.meditate4life.co.uk/, granted us permission to share her beautifully relevant poem:
In this Sublime stillness,
There is no cage of the past,
Or fear of the future,
Knowingness and love
In this moment,
Here we are bathed,
In a pure lake of being,
Between wakefulness and sleep,
Between birth, death and renewal.
Without crime, shame or blame
For ever being,
We are no longer earthbound,
Like a caterpillar,
Feeding on the same stuff,
Handed down through generations,
Until almost too painful to stay,
Here we nourish ourselves,
With the same breath,
Drinking the essence of life,
In this safe and warm cocoon,
Of acceptance and faith,
We are reborn,
Into a new morning,
Like a butterfly,
Or a rainbow of colours,
Formed after a storm
To experience new moments,
Of mystery and delight.
Mindfulness refers to the ability to stay present and aware of each moment (including one’s thoughts and feelings) without judgment, fear, regret, anxiety. Learning how to develop this skill can help us to self-regulate and appreciate the positive aspects within our lives from a lens of gratitude, thereby making it easier to flow through the inevitable obstacles and discomfort.
Breathing is an important component to the skill of mindfulness. Once we become aware of our breath, we learn that during times of discomfort we are holding our breath or experiencing rapid or shallow breath. We also learn that conscious slowing of the breath forces our heart rate to slow down and increases our ability to focus, self-regulate, and cope. Deep breathing exercises are incorporated into sessions at Monarch Wellness.
Guided imagery or Meditation, may also be introduced in therapy to assist with mindfulness practice. Meditation teaches us to be present and to connect to the inner peace within. When we learn to non-judgmentally observe our thoughts and feelings, we can connect with the calm core in between, underneath, and separate from the thoughts and feelings. While quieting the mind may initially seem impossible and can be uncomfortable for many, meditation is a practice that can be developed. To assist with the practice, your therapist may verbally guides you through relaxation, imaginative, and self-awareness exercises. There are many ways to meditate, and research continues to affirm the psychological and physical benefits of meditation.
Various forms of movement are mindfulness based- just ask a runner, cyclist, dancer, or other athlete. For many, Yoga is mindfulness. Research continues to demonstrate not only the physical benefits, but also its mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. The sanskrit root of the word “yoga” translates as “union,” as it allows you to connect the mind and body, and for many the soul. Specific asanas (or physical poses in hatha yoga) can assist with various challenges. For example, a forward fold can be beneficial in helping the body to relax in the evening before bedtime or when feeling anxious and a sun salutation can be energizing in the morning or if feeling depressed. Laughter Yoga is another form of mindfulness practice that not only connects us with the present, but also allows us to activate more joy in the present. Other integrative therapies have also been found beneficial in paving the path towards mindfulness. In addition to yoga, aromatherapy, restorative sound and integrative relaxation also allow your body and brain to become quiet enough to enter a mindful stress-free state.
As with any therapeutic approach, some individuals may not feel comfortable with guided imagery, yoga, or other integrative modalities. Contrary to some beliefs, meditation and mindfulness are not religious or spiritual practices, but for some it is a way to feel more connected and is found in most religions from Christianity (Jesus meditated) to Buddhism to Hinduism to Judaism to many others. We are not a religious or spiritual center; however for many, all is interconnected…
For more information, here are some of many resources available: