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Mindfulness Meditation – What Is It And What Are Its Benefits?

Reviewed By Yoga Therapist Natalie Stawsky, CYT, ERYT
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Mindfulness Meditation – What Is It And What Are Its Benefits? November 20, 2018

The art of mindfulness is the best you can master. What else could be better than being completely involved in the present and not worrying about the past or future? It is bliss, I am telling you.

I am sure you experience it once in a while. For example, it is more likely to occur when you are playing a sport, watching a film or even while listening to an interesting lecture.

But how do you make it a habit, i.e., stay at the moment all the time or train your mind to do so at your will? Mindfulness meditation is the perfect method to get there.

Check out our mindfulness meditation guide below to find out how.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is awareness and complete consciousness of the present moment. Be it the place you are at, the work that you are doing or the person you are talking to, mindfulness is all about giving in to the present moment.

Mindfulness is also about balance, which means not getting overwhelmed or overreacting to a situation or to what is happening around.

Being mindful is to be aware of what you are personally experiencing with your entire being, i.e., your mind, thoughts, emotions, movements, and senses. Completely and wholly.

Mindfulness is an innate ability in each of us. Keeping the ability intact and bringing it up at your will is necessary, and only training and practicing mindfulness can do that for you.

And, there is no better way than mindfulness meditation to help you with that.

How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a simple process you can try at home to keep in tune with your surroundings. Bear in mind the following basics before you scroll down to learn the process.

Preparation 

  1. Time And Space
  2. Be Present
  3. Let Go Of Thoughts
  4. Do Not Judge

1. Time And Space

1. Time And Space Pinit

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Allot a certain amount of time every day to practice mindfulness meditation. Begin with 10-15 minutes and slowly increase the duration. Sticking to the timing is good because it becomes a habit and you are less likely to miss practice.

A comfortable place is vital. Choose a location that is less liable to have any disturbance or activity. A personal space where you would like to spend some quiet time works perfectly.

Otherwise, a pleasant natural habitat will also do, but make sure there that flora and fauna (like insects or a plant that you allergic to) do not bother you.

2. Be Present

The important factor – you must train your mind to stay in the present. Pay attention to what you are feeling, thinking, and doing and come back to it when your mind tends to wander. It is not an easy exercise, but keep trying, and it will become more comfortable.

3. Notice Thoughts Without Getting Attached To Them

3. Let Go Of Thoughts Pinit

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When you are sitting quietly, thoughts are bound to flow in your head. Do not try to control or stop them. Let them come. Observe what they are and make a note of them.

4. Treat Yourself With Kindness

Do not feel low or worried when your mind wanders. It is in the nature of the mind to wander. Keep calm and slowly get it back to the moment. Also, do not judge yourself for the thoughts that occur in your head. Be kind to yourself and watch thoughts come and go like clouds passing.

Practice

How to stay in the present? There is one easy way of doing it – breathing, a physical sensation that you can feel and come back to easily whenever your mind wanders and gets distracted by sound, smell, feelings, memories, and worries.

Let’s learn how to use breath to become mindful.

  1. Sitting Position
  2. Legs
  3. Torso
  4. Arms
  5. Eye Gaze
  6. Breath
  7. Mind Observation
  8. Aftermath

1. Sitting Position

1. Sitting Position Pinit

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Sit comfortably either in a yoga posture (Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana) or on an elevated platform like a chair, sofa, or a stool.

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2. Legs

2. Legs Pinit

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While the yoga sitting postures require you to sit in a particular manner, you can tweak them a bit if you are not comfortable in the original position. For example, you can place a soft cushion underneath your feet when in Vajrasana.

You can even spread your legs out and place them on top of each other when you sit on a couch or a bed. If you choose to sit on a chair, place your legs gently on the floor.

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3. Torso

Whichever sitting position you choose, make sure you keep your back straight. Do not stiffen or tighten your torso as that would be uncomfortable. Your spine has a natural curvature that you should let be.

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4. Arms

4. Arms Pinit

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Place your arms comfortably. The best way is to keep the upper arms parallel to the upper body and the palms of your hands on the knees or near your upper thighs in a cosmic mudra. Otherwise, place your hands wherever it feels right or natural.

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5. Eye Gaze

It is not compulsory to close your eyes. Bring your chin down a bit and lower your gaze. Let your eyes soften and become relaxed. If you choose not to close your eyes, let go of the energy to see out, like a daydreaming gaze.

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6. Breath

Notice your breath. Pay attention to how you breathe in and out. Observe how the air goes in through your nose and travels down to your lungs. Be attentive to how your stomach and chest contract when you breathe in and swell when you breathe out.

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7. Mind Observation

Your mind will naturally tend to waver from breathing to thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Do not try to block them or even think about removing them from your head. Just bring your mind’s attention back to breathing.

Observe your thoughts like watching a movie, there is no need to interact with them or respond. Whenever you notice the mind wandering, come back to the sensations of your body breathing and the gentle coming and going of your breath.

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8. Aftermath

When you gently bring back your mind to breathing again and again without any agenda or expectation, eventually, the flow of thoughts and distractions lessen, and you find yourself at the moment as you breathe in and out.

When you feel it is time to come out of the practice, gently lift your chin and your gaze. Take a moment to observe the sounds and sights of your surroundings. Note how you feel and notice the state of your body.

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Now that you know how to practice mindfulness meditation, let’s find out how you benefit from it.

 Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation

  • Mindfulness meditation helps you deal with pain better – whether it is physical or mental. It trains you to analyze yourself and work on what’s lacking objectively.
  • It helps you give full attention to what you are doing instead of spacing out, becoming blank, or staring right through something.
  •  It trains you to focus and get your work done without much distraction. It also reduces stress and keeps you level-headed.
  •   Mindfulness meditation keeps your brain clutter-free and helps you attend to what is necessary and important.
  •  It reduces depression and helps you sleep better. It even helps you set and reach goals to better yourself in every manner.

Mindfulness is a natural human capability that we must consciously inculcate through meditation. It helps you lead a clutter and stress-free as you are focusing on the present and living it wholly. It gives a sense of high, and you must experience it. Get to practice right now!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long do I practice mindfulness meditation to observe a change in my outlook?

A couple of weeks of dedicated practice will help you notice a change in your mindfulness meter.

Can I listen to music while practicing mindfulness meditation?

The whole purpose of mindfulness meditation is to be observant of the present, and listening to music is an escapist tendency, so it is best to avoid it.

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