Tag Archives: body

Mountains and mindfulness

man meditating

After coming from ‘The Mountain’ in North Carolina, nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains, the image of a mountain is vivid in my mind. It made me think how important the notion of it is in Mindfulness and MBSR.

Frequently when we do Sitting Meditation, crossed legged on the floor, or sitting on a chair, we use the image of a mountain, emerging with majesty, with dignity, like us, sitting in an upright position in a dignified posture, aware of our breathing, rooted, motionless, oblivious to what is happening around. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “by becoming the mountain in our meditation, we can link up with its strength and stability, and adopt them for our own”.

We also use the parallelism with a mountain when we do Mindful yoga. Standing with our feet shoulder-width apart, our arms parallel to our body. Our spine erect, standing with dignity, focusing our awareness on the connection with the floor. Being with our feet grounded, anchored, stable, like a mountain emerging from the earth. Going back to it again and again when we connect from one posture to the next while we practise Mindful movement. Knowing that we can come back to it frequently throughout the day, whatever we are doing, wherever we may be. Feeling secure, feeling connected, feeling rooted, feeling present.

Let the mountains inspire us, men who love men, while we practise Mindfulness meditation, let’s have them present in our imagination, in our mind, in our body.

Sources:
Kabat-Zinn, John. Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Mindful Yoga

mindful movement

Mindful yoga or mindful movement is one of the formal meditation practices used in MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

People frequently wonder what  yoga, or movement in general, has to do with meditation.
The purpose of it is to bring awareness to movement. Being conscious of what is happening to our body, and in our body when we move.

Although we call it yoga, it is not exactly yoga. It takes movements and postures from that discipline, but also from qi gong, tai chi, dance, or even from everyday life, and adds an element of awareness and consciousness to it…
It can be done standing or lying down. Most of the time it is done with our eyes open, but some movements can also be performed with our eyes closed, what may deliver a different dimension to the movement.

Do we have to be extremely fit in order to do the different movements? Not at all! This is the beauty of it, there´s always some sort of movement that every one of us can do. It doesn´t matter if we exercise regularly or not, if we have our four limbs or not, if our mobility is impaired or not. It is a matter of being aware of that particular movement, at that particular time, even if it is barely a movement.

It is not a competition between the people in the room, nor a competition with ourselves, it is just a matter of living the moment, experiencing our experience, as we do when we practice sitting meditation or the body scan.

Listening and self respect are also vital here.

Listening to corporal signs, listening to what our body is telling us… How far can we reach? When do we have to stop? When do we have to go back  to the starting position?

Self respect: we all have to learn how to respect our body, and be aware of our limits.

Limits that differ from person to person; limits that within ourselves may vary from day to day, or even, from moment to moment…

While we practice mindful yoga or mindful movement, nothing else exists.  Ourselves, our bodies, that particular movement, experiencing it, listening to it, embodying it….

We may have raised our hands  and  arms thousands of times in our life, but when we do it with awareness, we reach a new dimension that probably we never thought  could exist.