7 Days of Mindfulness
A short 7-day guided reflection on mindfulness.
Some suggestions for success:
Bookmark this page to find easily
Set a reminder for the same time every day
Allow for 10 minutes each day, max
Find a quiet, calming place
Tell someone you’re taking time for some mindfulness exercises (accountability increases your success rate by 80%!)
Begin with the short introduction to mindfulness and it's relationship to yoga.
"The most basic expression of love is paying attention. Here we cultivate sensitivity to others and ourselves. This is the essence of yoga. Mindfulness is simply being able to notice my emotions without feeling compelled to act on them. It's our ability to increase the space between noticing and our responses (to act or react). The space between is mindfulness."
Day 1 Mindfulness Meditation
Day 2 Journey into Mindfulness
Reflect for a few moments on what it is that draws you to mindfulness or to learn more about it? Ask yourself again, what draws me to mindfulness? Sit for a moment with your eyes soft or closed and allow images or thoughts to come. Ask yourself one more time, what really draws me to mindfulness? Understanding your intention for this journey will give you greater insight and awareness into yourself. A simple focus will help you stay on task and present with issues or distractions that come up during this week’s journey.
Next, take a few moments seated at your desk, cross your arms onto the desk and bow your head to rest on your forearms. Feel the forehead soften and release. Simply focus your breath on softening your face, forehead, jaw, cheeks, nose, ears, and even the hairs on your head. After about 1-2 minutes, stand up and stretch your body as if you were just waking for the day.
Day 3 Mindfulness Undoing the Multitasking
If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.
When you focus at any given moment on what you are feeling at that time, you increase the functioning of your prefrontal cortex which is part of the brain center responsible for taking in data through the body's senses and deciding on actions. Today, write the words “be present" or “now" on a post-it note, and put it where you look often such as on your computer or spend the most time during the day. Or even take a photo of it and set it as the screen saver on your phone.
Every time you find yourself multitasking or losing focus or feeling anxious throughout the day. Take a moment to look at the word, soften your face and shoulders, and notice your breath. Let it be a reminder to pause and remain present with one task at a time.
Day 4 Mindfulness In Listening
“All people smile in the same language.”
Today, cultivate a true sense of connection within yourself and others by showing empathy through active listening. Try this: when someone comes to speak to you, put down what your doing, close the computer, not only look at them but turn your whole body to face them. Soften your own face, uncross your arms, and allow yourself to listen attentively. Before responding, smile and take at least 3-5 breaths.
You might find that the silence or pause will give the other person the feeling of being heard. Resist offering advice. Consider saying, thank you for sharing your experience, when I heard you speak, I felt very connected to you or I felt what you were saying was…. Smile again.
Day 5 Mindfulness Journey: Take 5
"An emotion is only an emotion. It’s just a small part of your whole being. You are much more than your emotion. An emotion comes, stays for a while, and goes away, just like a storm. If you’re aware of that, you won’t be afraid of your emotions." ~Thích Nhất Hạnh
Take 5. This is a breathing technique adapted from Yoginos for Youth (a great kids’ yoga program).
Stop at any moment you might be feeling anxious or agitated, and breath in 5 counts, and breath out 5 counts. Consider teaching or sharing this tool for relaxation and stress relief with someone else today.
Day 6 Mindfulness Meditation On Your Environment
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." ~Thích Nhất Hạnh
Go outside without your phone or electronics. Find a place to stand or sit that is calming. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings.
What do you hear? As you focus on the sounds around you, notice them without commenting on them in your mind. You can label the sound: car, bird, construction, drum,…. then turn your attention to your breath for a few moments before opening your eyes. How do you feel? Were you able to focus with more clarity?
Day 7 Simple Meditation On the Sensations Of Our Hands
Find a comfortable place to sit (on the floor or chair), allow your spine to be upright and feel supportive, soften your shoulders and jaw. Begin to notice your hands, notice the fingers. Do they curl or lengthen, are they soft or rigid? Can you feel the warmth? The pulse? Can you feel the aliveness? Notice how they feel connected to your wrist and arm. Notice the air against them. Simply observe the inner workings. Return to the awareness of your breath. Allow your mouth to turn upward, a gentle smile of appreciation for your hands, your body, your breath, your aliveness. Gently open your eyes, and return to your day.