Nizha Periaswamy

Dyana or meditation is a very delicate process. Focusing our mind needs a lot of patience and consistency.

Some are fortunate to experience the benefits of meditation as soon as they begin, but for most practitioners, it is a long process that needs to be done regularly, over time, for the effects to show.

Perhaps practising mindfulness will help train the mind to pick up meditation.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not meditation per se. It is a method that can be used to train the mind to focus on the things around us before we can focus the mind into stillness, aka meditation.

Mindfulness is an act of being fully engaged to the present moment - letting go of any physical distraction, and being aware of one's thoughs and feelings at that point of time.

So how do we practise mindfulness?

To achieve this state, one must engage something to keep our minds fully attached to. Here are some types of mindfulness exercises and how to practise them:

Body mindfulness

Similar to the shavasana (corpse pose) in yoga, this method helps the mind engage with our own body. Lie down on your back with your legs extended, and arms at your side, palms facing up and the eyes closed. Now, stay focused and pay attention to each part of your body, from the toe to the top of the head.

Scan each part of the body and be aware of every sensation associated with them. Relax the said parts and slowly move up until you reach the crown of the head. Once your body is fully "scanned", imagine you are so relaxed, that you are floating. Feel the sensation before ending the session by breathing in and out deeply. Then, rub your palms and put them on your eyes before opening them.

Sound mindfulness

Play a music, mantra or sound of nature that soothes you. Now, sit comfortably on the ground, or on a chair with your back straight. If you are seated on the floor, cross your legs and put both hands on your lap, palms facing up. Take deep breaths and focus your attention to the music or sound, and enjoy its rythm, the instruments used in it, as well as the vibrations created by the sound, to your mind and body. End the session by inhaling and exhaling deeply.

Walking mindfulness

Find a nice, quiet place - preferably outdoors and surrounded by nature that can keep you on your foot for a good 15 to 30 minutes. As you begin to walk slowly, focus on the experience of walking, be aware of the sensations of standing, and the subtle movements that keeps you balanced on your feet. Engage in your surroundings, absorb the sounds, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the sensation of the wind on your skin. End this session by inhaling and exhaling deeply, with a smile.

There is no particular time or place for one to practice mindfulness. It can be done every day, and over time, you will master it.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Pixabay