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You Don’t Have To Live Like A Monk To Be Mindful

    image: Nina Leen
    image: Nina Leen

    There’s a big buzz around mindfulness these days, and this is great news.
    I’m loving that the term has gone mainstream because it opens up the dialogue for a culture to be created by people putting it into practice.

    The thing is, I realized there’s some confusion over what mindfulness actually means. In a convo with DH he mentioned it’s like transcendental meditation–for hippies or others looking to escape. He thought it was for a far-out kind of person…perhaps left over from the 70s. Or a replicate from the tune-in, drop out era.

    This is so not the case. Mindfulness is the exact opposite of escape.
    It’s about being present, and alert to the moment.

    Here’s what else mindfulness DOESN’T mean:

    1. You must make a huge commitment that fills up your already busy life.

    Practicing mindfulness is a commitment… to yourself. If you have the time then an awesome way to kickstart your mindfulness practice is on retreat at a place like Omega or Kripalu. But if you can’t get away- you can start anytime and anywhere.

    Like right now– can you feel your feet on the floor?
    Fingers on the keyboard?
    Yes??! You’re living mindfully!

    2. You have to do yoga.

    While I’m a huge advocate for practicing yoga- because anyone can do it (anywhere!) it’s not necessary to move through a sequence of sun salutations or inversions to be mindful. I have gotten mindful in Soulcycle, Core Fusion, and on the jogging path by the East River

    In fact many athletes use mindfulness as a technique for better performance. Basketball coach Phil Jackson taught his players the zen philosophy- one breath one mind, to enhance mental stamina and focus. He wrote all about it in his book .

    3. You have to ditch your wardrobe for a gold or red robe, and live like a monk.

    As I previously wrote, mindfulness can happen anywhere at anytime. So to think that you have to leave your life to get started is completely untrue. And once do you begin to live more mindfully– you begin to make choices that are more aligned with who you really are. You express your essence from the inside out. Which means how you dress and act becomes a better reflection of your true self. So if a gold and red robe is your fancy, or if you prefer a botanically printed kimono style — it’ll call your name from Amazon.

    So to be mindful means to be present. Ready to give it a whirl?
    Feel your feet on the floor.
    Feel your fingertips on the keyboard.
    Breathe in. Breathe out.


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