5 easy ways to practice mindfulness

Apr 21

Mindfulness is a form of meditation practice that focuses on an intense awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling at any one moment. By working to train the mind to be more ‘present’, the body’s natural ‘relaxation response’ can be activated to reduce negative emotions, stress, anxiety and increase positivity and feelings of self-compassion. By incorporating mindfulness into your life, you can also:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower stress and anxiety
  • Lower your heart rate
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Improve circulation
  • Lower the inflammatory response in the body
  • Slow your respiratory rate
  • Lower cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Improve your mood
  • Deepen relaxation

Whilst there are many ways to incorporate mindful practices into your daily life, some of the most common ways include:

  1. Meditation

If fitness is an approach to training the body, meditation is an approach to training the mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation helps you observe your thoughts and feelings, with an intention of simply being aware of each thought as it arises, cultivating inner balance.

If you are new to meditation, try this:

  • Sit upright on a chair or lie comfortably
  • Close your eyes
  • Make no effort to control your breath; simply breathe naturally
  • Draw your attention to your breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation
  • Place your attention to your neck and shoulders, then to your chest, rib expansion and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath (without controlling its pace) and work to relax the parts of your body you are focusing on
  • Work down from the belly to the hips, thighs, knees, and toes. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath and chosen body part
  • Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try to build up to 10-15 minutes

To practice, join one of our daily virtual Meditation or Stretch and Restore classes.

  1. Breath work

Breath is the direct pathway to the parasympathetic nervous system – your calming, stress relieving, friendly nervous system. By calming your nervous system, you can instantly reduce the fight or flight response in your body and mind, reducing stress, anxiety and tension and fatigue

If you are new to breath work, try this:

  • Focus on your breath
  • Place your hands on either side of your ribcage and focus on the gentle expansion and combustion
  • Take a breath in and hold for four counts, then release for four counts
  • Do the same for eight counts, working your way up to twelve counts
  • Reverse your way back, before finally finishing at four counts
  1. Yoga or Pilates

Combining Yoga and Pilates poses with both breath work and meditation practice will deliver ultimate mindfulness to your mind and body.

If you are new to Yoga and Pilates or would like to build on your existing practice, join our daily, virtual Yoga and Pilates classes.

  1. Practice gratitude

As the saying goes, gratitude is the best attitude. Focusing on the things, people or situations in your life you are thankful for will help in cultivating a happier and healthier version of yourself, leading to a deeper sense of fulfillment.

Practicing gratitude also increases your mood and sense of self-satisfaction, lowering stress and anxiety.

If you are new to gratitude, try this:

  • Before you go to sleep each night, write down three things you are thankful for from the day
  • Repeat each night for a week
  • At the end of the week, read over all of your ‘blessings’ – realising you now have over 20 things to be happy for each week
  1. Walking meditation

Walking meditation is a great way to learn to be mindful when you cannot find the time for formal seated or lying practice.

Put simply, walking meditation is the practice of walking with a clear mind, focusing on your breath and the rhythm of your footsteps.

To help maximise your practice, find what helps calm you. Whether it be listening to music to help maintain your rhythm or following a guided meditation on your phone. Breathe in the fresh air and nature to enjoy an easy, accessible mindful practice that can be completed over a quick lap around the block over lunch.

RISE by Studio PP continue to offer virtual fitness classes to 101 Collins’ customers. Click here to view online class passes and membership options.

By Steph Prem, Founder and Head Trainer Rise by Studio PP.

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