Mindfulness Meditation with Laura
Meditation has created such profound change in my life and those of many of my students. Time and again I’ve found myself falling deeply in love with the wisdom and peace on offer through the practice of mindfulness meditation. Buddhists use the term Sati to describe the tradition which is one of the most simple yet challenging forms of meditation so I wanted to share with you a little about my experience.
Finding Acceptance Of Right Now
It’s based not on changing ourselves but instead connecting to the present moment – tapping into how we feel right now, exactly as we are. Over the years I’ve discovered that coming home to myself in this way to actually FEEL the feelings and sensations in my body has given me so much more acceptance of the ebb and flow of life. There is a saying: “No Mud, No Lotus” and mindful meditation will help you to greet the ‘mud’ or the difficulties in your life with as much grace as you experience the joys.
Generally mindfulness meditations are conducted while sitting but I have been blessed to be led on walking and even eating meditation practices by the teachers who have helped me. The beautiful thing about this practice is that it asks nothing of me but to show up exactly as I am. It’s a very inclusive and welcoming style because it acknowledges that yes our minds will wander and yes, our bodies may feel discomfort and yes we may struggle with sitting still – but that all of these things are ok. Our task is simply to observe and continue coming back to the present.
The goal is not to find an end to our suffering but instead to bring an unconditional presence to suffering, joy and everything else that comes along. Mindfulness practice involves coming back to the present moment over and over again. Recognising, allowing and then resetting our attention with the breath.
I’ve found that doing this has made it easier and more natural to lean into discomfort when it comes and stop my natural inclination which is to try to escape in order to feel better! Mindfulness meditation teaches us that it is the urge to escape that causes the suffering rather than the suffering itself.
Seven Steps To Mindful Practice
We offer mindfulness meditation practices at our Retreat in Bali, Escape Haven and based upon my teachings there have put together a small starter practice for you below. Simply follow the directions and give it a try! You may be surprised at how much peace sitting with yourself can actually bring.
1. Take a seated position
The first step is to find a stable spot to sit, make sure it’s comfortable and supports your body. If you’re in a chair make sure you can pop your feet flat on the floor. If you’re on a cushion feel free to use pillows to bolster yourself and allow for comfort. Set a timer on your phone for just five minutes to get started.
2. Align your spine
The goal is to straighten but not stiffen your spine. So start by planting your sit bones (the boney ones at the top of your buttocks) into the seat. Then try to float your spine directly up in between them. Imagine lots of space exists between each vertebra then let your head sit comfortably on top of the tower and close your eyes.
3. Drop your hands
Tuck your upper arms into your sides and let your hands fall naturally on to your lap. You can open your palms and turn them upwards of simply relax your fingers, allowing all the tension to release. If your hands are comfortable you should find yourself not hunching but not sitting up to attention like a kid in school either.
4. Connect with the breath
Begin to watch your breathing, there’s no need to force it to be a certain way, just observe the movement of your belly and chest as you breathe. Follow it from your nose or mouth as it moves in and out of your body. If you wish, silently chant to yourself the words “breathing in” and “breathing out” as the breath moves.
5. Watch your mind
Listen to your thoughts but try not to follow them – and if you do follow them, just notice that you’ve gone away, pause for a moment and then come back again to your breathing. Your mind is always going to wander so instead of telling yourself off when it does – just observe it on its natural path and gently pull it back whenever you remember.
6. Name it and return
Whenever your mind goes on a tangent simply name what happening and then come back to the breath. Silently say the words “thinking” or “itchy” as these sensations come up and then return to your breathing. If you are judging yourself just say “judging” then come on back.
7. Reward yourself
When the timer goes off slowly open your eyes then give yourself some positive affirmation. Just by showing up you’ve had a good meditation practice. It doesn’t matter how many times your mind wandered. You’ve done a great job.
The online world is full of information about meditation and there are likely some classes in your neighbourhood too. If you’re interested in these try contacting the local Buddhist fellowship. And if you’re ever in need of a holiday or you’d just like to give yourself a special treat then come and join us at Escape Haven and join us at one of our yoga and meditation retreats in Bali. We’d love to have you.
Yours in yoga, Laura x
Escape Haven Bali Retreat, supporting women on year making wellness experiences.
We invite you to come and experience for yourself our award winning Bali yoga retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and shrug off all the roles that you wear and all the balls you juggle in your busy life, we’d love to pamper you. From transformational yoga and meditation classes, to exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness in our tropical gardens to restorative healing and pampering sessions, how much or little you do is all up to you.