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Less Autopilot, More Presence: 8 Weeks of Mindfulness Meditation

Pink_Lotus_Pink_Waterlily

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘meditation’?

Some of us might imagine an elderly bearded yogi, sitting cross legged, thumb and fore-finger forming a circle and levitating above a mountain top. Or maybe we imagine a Buddhist monk in orange robe, sitting peacefully beside a pond, chanting away…

Some of our ideas about meditation might be true, but there’s more to it than this!

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation isn’t a religion and doesn’t require emptying your mind or slamming on the brakes to halt your train of thought. It’s impossible to stop thinking altogether anyway – the harder you try to stop thinking the more frustrated you’ll get. You don’t need to chant ‘Om!’ or sit cross-legged in the lotus position beneath a waterfall (of course, you’re more than welcome to do this if you wish). It is a simple mental exercise which can be performed by anybody, anywhere – another method for improving your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

Common mindfulness meditations involve becoming aware of the breath, the sensations in the body and learning to simply observe your thoughts without trying to control or judge anything – just allowing everything to be as it is for those few moments.

Meditation can be done sitting on a chair, cushion or stool or even lying down on a mat or thick rug in any place you feel comfortable. Some other ways to meditate mindfully include sitting still and listening to sounds in your environment, doing lights stretches while focussing on your breath or paying more attention to the scents you smell, textures you feel and flavours you taste while eating a raisin or a piece of chocolate.

What are the benefits of minfulness meditation?

Now you may be wondering, why would anyone spend their time sitting around thinking about their breath or eating a raisin when the family, the children, the boss, the meetings, the bills, the emails, the assignments, the homework, the housework, the telephone and the 100-page To-Do list all need attention right now?

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