Mindfulness is often defined as “one’s mental state that is accomplished by focusing their awareness on the present moment.” Although, you may have missed the point if you find yourself immediately scrolling through social media pages on your smartphone after yoga practice. With the quickening pace of the modern world and the use of technology, it is becoming increasingly more challenging to pause and be mindful. We are many times thinking about the past or the future instead of focusing our attention on the present moment.
Why is it so easy to lose the mindfulness that I had cultivated during my yoga class, as soon as I step outside the studio? I was first introduced to mindfulness through the practice of yoga and meditation, and it was a major awakening. However, I started recognizing that I associated mindfulness with yoga and that it never left the classroom. Mindfulness required and steamed from the peacefulness and serenity of my studio, my mat, and time that I took out of my daily schedule. But as I only practiced mindfulness in my classroom, I began longing for a mindful practice that I could carry with me from my mat and into my life.
I then began to realize that sensuality was at the core of staying grounded within the present moment. To live in the present moment, we need to get out of our heads and into our bodies. Our bodies are not stuck in the past or the future, it is in the here and now. So now the next question is how to connect our bodies through grounding sensuality? The answer is by delighting our senses!
Below are various ideas to help you tune into your senses as a form of mindfulness that you can carry with you:
When you are eating or drinking, start focusing more on the taste of the item. Is it bitter or sweet? Is it salty or spicy? It is very important to be mindful when you are eating and this can also help you slow down and aid your digestion.
Electronics often keep us out of the present moment and make us unaware of our surroundings. Try leaving your phone at home and taking a walk. At times we walk with our head down, buried in our phones and consumed in our thoughts. Look up and admire God’s creation and be a friendly stranger to those you pass.
Do we truly pay attention to everything we hear? Instead of focusing on one sound, take moments to close your eyes and open your ears. Allow yourself to absorb the various sounds around you. Enjoy the sounds that surround you each day.
We are constantly touching things, but many times we are unaware unless it is unpleasant such as a painful or burning sensation. Take time to practice becoming aware of what touches your body. From the warmth of the sun, the texture of grass under your feet, to the fabric of your clothing.
Our ability to smell is a gift, so allow yourself to stop and smell the roses! Appreciate the smell of coffee brewing, or the sweet smell of your flowers.
Grounding yourself to these sensual experiences and truly appreciating them will allow you to be present in the moment. You don’t always need a yoga mat and a classroom to practice mindfulness. Just allow yourself to receive and delight in all the glorious gifts that God has given us. In doing so, you will tune into your senses and surround yourself in each moment.