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 that very 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 definition and purpose.
Meditation is the practice of turning 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 and bodily sensations and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
It’s so important that we take time, even if just for 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 help to put things into perspective and help us to worry less about the little things, that on the grand scheme aren’t that important.
The saying ‘the straw that broke the camels 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 to make 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 practice 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.
When coming along to a Pilates class, I encourage you to leave whatever you are dealing with at the door.
One of two things will happen for you during class. Your 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 anyway.
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, it hasn’t arrived.
Live in the present and make it beautiful.