Exhale and relax

‘’The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are
priceless to their possessors’’

– Joseph Pilates

When asked the question ‘’What do mindfulness and meditation mean to me?’’, my initial
response is, ‘’Where do I start?’’

It means different things to different people. For example, when I asked a work colleague
the same question, his response was, ‘’That’s when you sleep, relax and dream about stuff.’’

The differences between mindfulness and meditation have been debated and interpreted in
many ways, and this is likely to continue. Put simply, they are two sides of the same coin.
They compliment each other and very often overlap, but at the same time, each has its own
specific definition and purpose.

Meditation is the practice of tuning your attention to a single point of reference. It can
involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a
mantra. In other words, meditation means turning your attention away from distracting
thoughts and focusing on the present moment.

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings,
body sensations and surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens. When we
practise mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re seeing in the present moment rather
than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

It’s so important that we take time, even if for just 10 minutes, to empty the mind of clutter
and nonsense so we can focus better and reduce the stress of our daily lives. It will also put
things into perspective and help us to worry less about the little things, that on the grand
scheme of things aren’t that important.

The saying ‘’the straw that broke the camel’s back’’ instantly springs to mind as we all have a
breaking point and it could be something as simple as the kettle won’t boil for you to have
your morning cuppa.

The answer – put a pan of water on the stove to boil. It’s not what
happens to you, but how you react that matters.

I incorporate and practise a combination of both mindfulness and meditation in every class.
Pilates is the mind-body conditioning workout.

We work on sculpting and strengthening the body using the breath to bring the mind and
body together in harmony and relaxation to switch off the ‘noise’ of the outside world
allowing time to turn our attention to ourselves.

We focus on leaving whatever we were dealing with prior to class at the door.
One of two things will happen during the following hour. The mind will find a better way of
dealing with any given situation OR the camel can rest easy as it wasn’t that big of a deal

There’s plenty of evidence to support that harnessing your mind to be in the present can
improve your mental and physical health.

You can;t worry about the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, is hasn’t arrived.
Live in the present and make it beautiful.