I know that mindfulness can sometimes feel like a buzzword, but there is a good reason so many people are talking about it – it’s ace! Let’s clarify the difference between mindfulness and meditation. On many levels they are the same, but my view is that mindfulness is how we are mindful or present moment-to-moment, whereas meditation is the art of breathing consciously while performing a task or in a specific position. The latter has always felt more structured for me and I’ve needed guidance to achieve a few minutes of actual meditation. I’ve also felt a sense of achievement when I’ve structured a time for meditation in my day, whereas I notice I’m simply happier overall when more ‘mindful’ throughout the day.
The techniques I’ve learned in meditation have helped me become more mindful and actually, if I think about it, the same applies the other way round. Confusing! Yes, but the point is that while doing either, I’m filling my body with oxygen, lowering cortisol and boosting my immune system and scientific research backs this up. Bonus.
I’ve been dipping in and out of mindfulness for a long time; it started when I began practising yoga in my early 20’s (almost 20 years ago-yes I know I don’t look a day over 30!) but it got serious for me when I was introduced to Yoga Nidra by a wonderful woman in Nottingham called Emily. Yoga Nidra literally means conscious sleep and is a guided meditation used to promote mental and physical relaxation. Patients of mine know I’m a Yoga Nidra fanatic as I use the mediations during a session, while the needles are in to help the patient totally relax. I have a dedicated Spotify playlist for my chosen Yoga Nidra’s which patients can follow to help them relax at home too.
Recently I decided I wanted to structure my meditation practice so have started a mindfulness course with the lovely Jacqui at Jacqui Bagatelas Freedom Therapies in Bristol. This course coupled with my past experience, specifically through the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, has helped me to reconnect with the daily practise of meditation and I’ve noticed a difference in my sleep, focus, clarity and mood – bonus again!
I’ve also been introduced to the wonderful Insight Timer app which I’m telling everyone about. It’s a FREE app which has over 3000 guided meditations organised into playlists and it’s the best meditation app I’ve found. There’s a playlist for children too which is just gorgeous. Give it a go if you fancy a foray into the world of mediation/mindfulness. It’s absolutely fab.
Peace, love and breath x