“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift and that is why it is called the present”. I love this quote from Kung Fu Panda. Mindful moments are all about absorbing yourself in the present moment which frees us from the pain of the past and the worries of the future. I have been doing this every day and using parts of my daily routine to have these precious moments.
As a mum and business owner I understand it is hard to find the time to just sit and just breathe. We need to re-program our minds and use triggers so we remember to practice this ancient art. We can transform everyday life into a mindfulness meditation. By taking a few breaths with awareness each day it can help us reduce stress and plant the seeds for a practice that nourishes our body and mind.
So how do we find the time and remember to do this each day?
For me it is making a cup of tea which is something I do every morning. I notice my footsteps on the tiled floor. I pick up the kettle and fill it with water. I feel the weight in my hand. I place it back down and wait for it to boil whilst just focusing on my breathing. I watch the steam and then wait for the whistle. I select a beautiful mug and a tea bag, place it in the cup, pour the water, add the milk and watch it brew. I then feel the warmth of the tea as I use my hands to pick up the mug and take a sip feeling and smelling the delicate fragrance of earl grey. I really taste it. This may only be a minute but it relaxes me. I also associate this with making an intention for the day ahead and even visualising what my day will look like.
Having a mindfulness bell can be a great reminder, like the kettle boiling. When I turn on my computer and check my work email a bell rings to tell me I have new mail. This is my queue to be mindful which is very helpful when eliminating distraction as I may literally have 30 minutes to check emails whilst my son is playing in his room or in between teaching.
Fill up your hand bag with mindfulness meditations. Use a lavender hand cream or honey lip balm. Absorb the moment and feel the softness as you rub the ointment onto your lips and hands, really feel and observe the sensations. The five senses of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste can be an anchor for your meditations. We have a six sense which are our thoughts. We can use these techniques to calm our busy minds.
You do not even need to use a product or action. It could be you simply commit to noticing one beautiful thing each day. Children do this naturally. They see the birds in the trees and stop to smell the roses.
I taught a children’s yoga class last week and used the five senses. We closed our eyes and listened to the sounds we could hear. In a yoga studio above a busy road we could hear traffic. But if we really listened we could hear each other breathing and even our own heart-beat. We kept listening to see if we could hear the silence between each sound. For sight we used a scented candle which also used our sense of smell and our six sense as it calmed our minds. For touch and taste I gave all the children a sultana. We felt it, smelled its sweetness but before we ate it we talked about where this came from. It’s a grape that had been grown, then dried then put in a package and then sent to market. Imagine all the people that had helped give us this sultana. It represents the whole universe. We savored the taste and enjoyed the moment. Meal times are also a great place to practice mindfulness. Chew slowly, turn off distractions like the TV and be thankful for the food you are eating.
I noticed that when I am teaching yoga to children and adults I am really present, totally in the moment. With children I am absorbed in the story by living in their worlds which is full of creativity and curiosity. I would like my son to be my mindfulness bell. I believe we should be completely present with our children. Even it is for only 30 minutes a day. Bake some cookies, read them a story, build a sandcastle or give them a hug.
A beautiful mindfulness meditation is look at the clouds in the sky. Each time you look up observe the sky as it is constantly changing. The clouds represent our thoughts. Some days are grey and cloudy and we feel heavy. Other days are bright and we feel light. Clouds are like our thoughts. They come and go and are temporary. Pick a white fluffy cloud and breathe into it. With each breath see if it changes shape and use your mind to focus on it until it floats away. Children love this too.
I have created a Zen garden with my son in our garden using pebbles in small bowls. I have a statue of Buddha and he has a gnome. It is a place for us to be calm together and we enjoy watering the plants and watching the wind in the trees. You can use chop sticks pebbles and bowls to make Zen gardens which is a great calming activity for you and your child.