At the beginning of the month I talked about Body Awareness. Listening to your own body and all the ques that it gives you is very important in living a healthy and happy life. Focusing on your breathing is probably one of the easiest ways to ground yourself and begin to focus. Once you have learned to focus on your physical being, it is important to take the next steps and learn to listen to your inner self. Your mind is very powerful, and when you can listen to your body and mind, you have learned how to help heal your mind, body, and soul, thus leading to health and happiness.
What exactly is mindfulness? To quote UCLA’s MARC (Mindful Awareness Research Center) “Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one's inner experience. There are many ways to bring mindfulness into one's life, such as meditation, yoga, art, or time in nature. Mindfulness can be trained systematically, and can be implemented in daily life, by people of any age, profession or background.” Simply put, mindfulness is the act of simply being in the moment every moment. It is not about holding onto the past or looking into the future. It is simply being present in the here and now, with no judgements.
Connecting with our inner selves is often times a difficult task for most people. We start with our breathing, focusing on the in and out breathes, until we find a nice, natural rhythm of our own. In my last blog, I had you then focus on various body parts and acknowledge what you notice. So what are the next steps? As a Star Wars fan, and an even bigger Yoda fan, the Jedi's offers some of the best lessons about mindfulness:
Once you learn the art of listening to yourself on the various levels, you will learn how to understand the wants and needs of your body and emotional states. This will thus turn into learning how to be happier and healthier. It will bring about greater harmony both within and without.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.