Please make time to watch this - Meditation and Mindfulness on the brain
We are hosting a free Mindfulness walk which will involve meeting in Castleford and going on a nature walk. Mindfulness offerrs many health benefits and is recommended by NICE guidelines to people who suffer with depression. This is a chance to make new friends whilst enjoying the health benefits of walking and enjoying a cuppa with plenty of laughter. These are entirely free, and the only cost incurred will be the price of your cuppa! I would advise good walking shoes and water though, but we will sit down frequently so this isn’t a hike more a stroll with friends amongst nature. These will be run bi monthly (last Wednesday of the month and Sunday mid month)
As per the norm you spoke and we listened and we are pleased to offer the Sunday walks to family so whether you are single, it's complicated, in love, with children or without... everyone is welcome! Children welcome with a responsible adult (Ha added that before people thought I was offering a babysitting service :) )
The Facebook page will have further details so please keep an eye out!
Please don’t be shy … come along and meet likeminded people for friendship and laughter.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.’ Buddha
Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past.
Mindfulness is about learning to live in the now. Twenty-first century lifestyles are characterised by stress, impatience and the inability to relax. We require constant stimulation, but our minds tend to have shorter attention spans and poorer concentration levels because we are typically unaware of what we are thinking. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere! The concept of mindfulness does not mean that one has to escape to the top of a mountain or sit in a cave (although I would love this!!) in order to experience the benefits. You can practice mindfulness by simply bringing your awareness to the present moment. Most importantly, the practice of mindfulness helps us to nourish and reinforce our inner ability to restore well-being. Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating conscious awareness of our thoughts, feelings and environment in every moment, without judging the experiences.
We gradually learn thoughts and behaviors that result in joy and those that trigger stressful reactions and suffering. Neuroscience is increasingly supporting the idea that mindfulness and meditation help to enhance perception, awareness and complex thinking. Resilience to stress is one of the key benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a universal principle that applies equally to business executives, sports teams and housewives/house husbands.
Choose a comfortable posture. You can either choose to sit on the floor or on a mat or cushion. Alternatively, you can sit against the wall, with your legs extended in front of you. Those who find it difficult to sit on the floor can sit on a hard-backed chair. Whichever posture you choose, sit with your spine straight (do not arch your back).
Those who suffer from back, hip or pelvic pain should take particular care with regard to supporting their back. You can also consider lying down as a final option.
Focus your eyes on the tip of your nose or on a stationary object. The idea is to relax your eye muscles and ease your emotions. You can keep your eyes open, closed or half-closed, depending on what feels comfortable for you. If you choose to close your eyes, imagine yourself in a safe, comfortable and serene place.
Place your palms on your thighs with your thumb and forefinger lightly touching each other. Keep the rest of the fingers relaxed. Focus on your breathing and become aware of the sensations or thoughts that you experience. These can include, for example, lightness, heaviness, pain, itching or angry thoughts. Do not attempt to analyse any of the sensations or thoughts. Simply observe them and let them go. Observe each sensation or thought with full awareness,
Slowly come back into awareness by taking three slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Rub your hands together, in order to generate heat, and place your palms on your eyes. Interlock your hands and stretch them above your head. Whilst maintaining the stretch, lean left and right several times.
Tip: It is a good idea to meditate before stressful situations, for example, work meetings, board meetings or when you are feeling frustrated as you cannot find the remote for the TV and about to lose your temper :) when you know you need to say no to someone but your personality doesn't want to. All these even though they sound silly reasons are reasons that people do feel stress! (examples taken by clients when asked)
By becoming more aware of your inner world, you automatically become more aware of your outer world. Your inner world is amazing!
Please be aware the positioning of your head can make a significant difference to your walking meditation experience. Avoid keeping your head tucked in towards your chest – this will tend to trigger darker and more negative emotions. I walk head upright straight ahead as that is where I am going … leaving the present and walking into the future head held high.
Write a Mindfulness journal … document everything and see the difference week by week!
Start with a standing meditation. Place your feet slightly apart and distribute your weight evenly onto both feet. Focus your attention on the feel of the solid ground beneath your feet and observe balance. Now, beginning with your feet, start by mentally scanning your body, all the way up to the top of your head. As you mentally scan it, observe any tension, stress or pain in each part of your body. Move your thoughts from your feet to your knees then to your pelvis, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders, neck, face and head.Choose a location in which you are able to walk for about ten to fifteen steps and then turn back. You can consider starting in quiet spaces like parks and gardens.
Now begin walking and practise being mindful of the way you which you walk. You do not have to walk slowly or quickly – you are not trying to walk any differently – you are simply becoming more aware of how you walk.
Feel the contact and release of your heel touching the ground and then your foot moving forward, with the ball of your foot touching the ground to facilitate movement. Become consciously aware of the sensations in your feet, ankles, shins, calves and joints as you walk. Cultivate awareness of your feet as they rise in the air and make contact with the ground.
As you continue walking, observe your thighs and how they feel. Move your attention to your hips and the way in which they move your legs forward. Notice how one hip lifts while the other hip sinks. Maintain awareness of the muscles and skin.
Feel the air or wind against your skin, as your arms move rhythmically as you walk. Pay attention to your thoughts as you walk.
How do you feel? What are you thinking about? Is your mind depressed or happy? Are you experiencing any resentful or angry thoughts? Do you feel content and peaceful?
As you regularly practise walking meditation, you will discover that you are able to maintain a balance between your inner and outer worlds, from a calm and dispassionate perspective. Come to a natural stop and observe how your body is able to stand and maintain balance once again; notice the stillness.
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