Tag Archives: MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction

Practicing mindful yoga

Mindful Yoga

“Through the practice of mindful yoga, we can expand and deepen our sense of what it means to inhabit the body and develop a richer and more nuanced sense of the lived body in the lived moment”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses. Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, 2005.

“It is a profound meditation practice, especially when practiced mindfully, and develops strength, balance, and flexibility of mind even as it is developing those same capacities at the level of the body”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses. Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, 2005.

Good starting points

MINDFULNESS GAY MSBR

Anyone interested in Mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) should start by looking at these three links:

1. The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where it all started more than 30 years ago. It is the world reference point for Mindfulness, MBSR, and Mindfulness Education in general.

http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/

2. Mindfulness Meditation NYC is a collaborative of MBSR teachers offering classes in the NYC area. It is a great source of information for anyone who wants to know about Mindfulness and MBSR, regardless of their location.

http://www.mindfulnessmeditationnyc.com/

3. The Center for Mindfulness research and Practice at Bangor University in Wales, United Kingdom, is one of the leading centres for teaching and research on Mindfulness in Europe and throughout the world. Their courses and workshops complement perfectly those offered in different centres in the United States.

http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/

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.

Walking meditation

walking meditation mindfulness

Walking is something we all do every day. But in most cases, we do it automatically, without thinking on the added value it can bring us.

Jon Kabat-Zin wanted to give a new meaning to walking, so he introduced the walking meditation within the formal practices that form the MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Practicing walking meditation is as simple as walking, but while you do it, you can add to the meditation other stimuli, p.e., what you see, what you feel, the smells, the feel of your feet when they get in touch with the ground… what you should avoid is not to try getting caught for other thoughts that alienate us from cultivating our inner observation.

It may be difficult at the beginning: for many years we have used our legs mechanically likely you could even feel awkward during the activity. You can set your eyes straight ahead or you can look down and see how the foot up from the floor and back down, and feel the rhythm of your steps.

Any time is good for practicing walking meditation: in small displacements, at home, in a park, in the way to or back from work … there’s always a good chance to make that path a chance to meditate. Walking as a practice itself, try not to treat it as a further goal, as we usually do during our busy daily life.

Take your time. Do not run. Only wander without looking for a goal, not a destination, without the intention of reaching a particular location. If, for example, you put it into practice during a journey that you are used to do it in 5 minutes, allow yourself to do it in double time and practice walking meditation for 10 minutes.

Before starting practice, think about breathing slowly during those two or three initial steps to accustom your body and mind to this new way of walking. The soles should focus your attention: be aware of the contact between them and the ground you walk on.

You have to control your breathing. Make it mild and slow. It will help you to reduce the effects of stress and facilitate meditation. Make deep but slow breaths inhaling air through the nose and exhaling through your mouth.

And, most important advice: do it lively. Don’t think about a minimum or maximum time for practicing this meditation. And at the end, take a moment for reflect on what you have done, how through the practice, you have found serenity, peace, inner joy.