The following mindfulness practice is adapted from the BRFWA meditation in Kripalu Yoga. It can become a core technique and tool in your yoga AND life. Coming into the present moment allows you to let go of your thoughts and emotional disturbances, as well as tension in the body. It’s a practice you can rely on when you are triggered, when you find yourself anxious, when you want to relax or when you simply want to be at your best. It will bring you into the present moment and help you find your Middle Ground.
1. Give Attention
What is going on right now?
Recognize when you feel discomfort or anxiety. Notice when you begin to fee overwhelmed or anger starts to rise. This is the time to pause and give attention. Notice critical thoughts and resistance. Let go of any judgment about how things should be and embrace the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.
How freely am I breathing right now?
Notice the flow of your breath in and out of your body. Then begin to take long and slow breaths. Breathing through your nose, you can place a hand on your belly to help you focus on deeper breathing. Allow your lungs to fill with air as your belly expands on the inhale. Let the belly come back to the spine on the exhale. This may feel awkward at first.
Diaphragmatic breathing increases lung capacity and oxygenation, as well as sending a message to your brain to calm down.
Your breath is the anchor to bring you back to the present moment.
Where am I holding tension right now?
Get into a grounded position, with your feet planted. Scan your body in your mind, paying attention to where you tend to hold stress. Check in with your jaw, your forehead, your shoulders, and your abdominal muscles and chest. Notice any clenching.
Start moving to release the tension. Imagine moving the energy of your breath to these places. Make micro adjustments. Consciously soften your muscles.
What am I feeling in my body and mind?
Be open to feeling the sensations and emotions. Give it a name. For example “Irritation” “Anger” “Dread”. Notice the location of the feeling in your body. Lean into the body and breathe into these areas. Notice an initial resistance and then your body letting go as you continue to breathe. Let the feeling flow through you as energy.
If there is no feeling present just keep letting the thoughts go and return to your breathing.
What am I aware of right now?
Watch your experience closely without judgment or attachment. It simply is. Resist any tendency to grasp on to what is pleasant or to push away what is painful. Be the silent witness.
Allow yourself to acknowledge your experience exactly as it is. For a moment drop the need to change it in any way. Rather than trying to make something happen, observe and feel what is already happening. Let your experience unfold. Allow it to transform you.
7. Be Open
Be open to what ever unfolds in this place. You may not sense anything other that getting impatient or noticing your inner judge telling you this is a waste of time! That’s okay. This is why it is called a practice.