Mindfulness isn’t just about sit­ting in med­i­ta­tion. The ul­ti­mate aim is to bring aware­ness into dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties

The Simple Things - - THINK -


Yoga and mindfulness teacher Dainei Tracy (great­ teaches this tech­nique…

If you can, walk bare­foot. Your spine should be straight but not ram-rod stiff.

Make a loose fist with your left hand and place your right hand gen­tly over the left. Place your hands just in front of your navel area.

Drop your gaze slightly, fo­cus­ing gen­tly on a spot just ahead of you.

Slowly lift your left foot. Mind­fully and slowly place it on the ground. Feel your heel hit the ground, then the ball of the foot, and fi­nally the toes. Pause, feel­ing the shift in your weight.

Slowly lift your right foot and re­peat.


The idea is to be­come mind­ful about how you choose and pre­pare your food. Go to shops or mar­kets where you can pick up food and smell it. Choose a bas­ket or shop­ping bag that is pleas­ing and no­tice its weight as you carry it.

Pre­pare your food with love and at­ten­tion, tak­ing time to no­tice the tex­tures, scents and feel of the food. As you chop, stir, mix and blend, think about the peo­ple you’re cook­ing for (in­clud­ing your­self) and put your hopes and wishes for them into the food.


This raisin med­i­ta­tion is a mindfulness ex­er­cise taught at the Body Re­treat (the­bodyre­

Look at your raisin. What colour is it? How big is it? No­tice any im­per­fec­tions. Is it dull or shiny? Ex­plore its tex­ture Feel any edges. Is your raisin soft or hard? Sniff the raisin Does it smell sweet or dusty? Does it make your mouth wa­ter? Now place it in your mouth Don’t chew yet. No­tice how it feels on your tongue. Bite into it: does it taste dif­fer­ent now that it’s in small pieces? What sounds do you make as you chew? When you’re ready, no­tice your in­ten­tion to swal­low. Imag­ine the raisin mov­ing down to­wards your stom­ach.


Turn your daily shower or bath into a thought­ful rit­ual of deep self-care and love. Name each item of cloth­ing as you take it off. As you step into the wa­ter, be­come aware of how it meets your body. Bring aware­ness to all your senses by not­ing how the wa­ter looks, how it smells, how it feels and how it sounds.

You may wish to add some beau­ti­ful bath­room po­tions to help you fo­cus on the senses. Choose nat­u­ral prod­ucts with clear scents, such as Moa’s Dreamy Min­eral Soak (moa.lon­don).

No­tice the dif­fer­ence when you add a scent. Does it over­whelm the rest of your senses? Towel your­self with at­ten­tion – nam­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing each part of your body as you dry off.


Yoga was orig­i­nally in­tended to pre­pare mind and body for med­i­ta­tion. Look for yoga teach­ers who bring this spirit to their classes. Slower practices such as yin yoga are ideal, but you can make any prac­tice mind­ful sim­ply by bring­ing your to­tal at­ten­tion to the breath and the body. No­tice how your body feels; be cu­ri­ous about its bound­aries and lim­its. Ex­plore what feels good and what doesn’t. Above all, be kind to your body.

Use savasana, the corpse pose, at the end of your ses­sion, as a form of ly­ing down mindfulness. Feel where your body touches the floor, no­tice sen­sa­tions, fol­low your breath.


Shin­rin-yoku was de­vel­oped dur­ing the 1980s in Ja­pan. It means ‘tak­ing in the for­est at­mos­phere’ or ‘for­est bathing’. Sim­ply walk­ing and re­lax­ing among trees has huge health ben­e­fits. Just 15 min­utes spent among trees can re­duce blood pres­sure and stress, im­prove mood and sleep and boost the im­mune sys­tem, re­searchers have found. Leave be­hind all dis­trac­tions (phones firmly switched off). Drop all goals and ex­pec­ta­tions, and just wan­der. You can find beau­ti­ful woodlands all over the UK – whether ma­jes­tic forests or a small gen­tle copse in your local park. Or try a for­est bathing hol­i­day with For­est Hol­i­days (foresthol­i­


“It’s our nat­u­ral urge to jump when the phone rings, rac­ing to pick it up,” says Thich Nhat Hanh. “Try re­sist­ing the urge. When­ever your phone rings, just sit and breathe in and out for around three breaths. If the call is im­por­tant, the per­son will wait un­til at least the third ring. Thich Nhat Hanh also sug­gests us­ing mindfulness be­fore you pick up the phone to call some­one. Make a vow to your­self to use words that in­spire hap­pi­ness and con­fi­dence.


Kim Ben­nett, who teaches at Seren­ity Re­treat (seren­i­tyre­, sug­gests bring­ing mindfulness to tiny mo­ments in your day. “Think about how you move a chair, how you vac­uum, how you sit at your desk,” she says. Be­come mind­ful when you’re brush­ing your teeth – feel­ing the brush against your gums, the taste of the tooth­paste, how you’re stand­ing. Or maybe make your cup of tea a mind­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. “No­tice how you feel in the su­per­mar­ket queue,” says Kim. “Be­come aware of your­self as you’re stuck in traf­fic. You can al­ways an­chor your­self with your breath.”

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