While you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.
-Thich Nhat Hahn
Mindfulness is being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of focused attention on every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing.
There has been a rise in popularity of teaching mindfulness in schools over the past few years but it is often taught as a seated, separate practice. Yoga is mindful movement; the practice of mindfulness has enhanced benefits when combined with movement because we bring harmony to the mind and body. A muscle is strengthened with exercise, the mind is strengthened through the continuous practice of being mindful. Teaching young people mindfulness through yoga encourages self-regulation: learning to observe their thoughts and emotions and responding with consideration, rather than reacting to them.
“Studies of mindfulness training and the structure and function on the brain reveal, for example, that mindfulness promotes the growth of important integrative fibres that help us with the regulation of emotion, attention, thought, and behaviour. These executive functions in ourselves, and in our students, can be cultivated with mindfulness training. Mindfulness cultivates integration within us, creating an inner sense of calm and clarity. And mindfulness cultivates an interpersonal way of being integrated with others as we become more empathic, compassionate, and connected to those around us.”
― Patricia A. Jennings, Mindfulness for Teachers
A few easy tips to cultivate mindfulness:
- Watch your breath for five minutes
- Observe your thoughts, notice how many different thoughts you have, try not to push any away
- Watch your emotions- try to be friendly towards them J
- Do not become involved in the narrative of your thoughts or emotions, but just let them flow