Mindfulness - learn the basics of this super-useful sanity saver
“In bringing your attention to the breath, you’re necessarily bringing your attention to the present moment,” says Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner, author of Practical Zen (Singing Dragon). He suggests you aim for 25 minutes, starting with less and building up to that if you need to.
1 Find a comfortable sitting position and create a firm triangular base for your body. You can sit cross-legged on the floor, with your bottom on a cushion so your hips tilt forward, keeping your spine straight, or sit upright on a chair with feet firmly planted on the floor.
2 Make it your intention to sit still, but if you need to move occasionally, that’s fine. Don’t force anything.
3 You can either shut your eyes or keep your eyes gently focused on the ground in front of you.
4 Slowly bring your awareness to your breathing. Don’t try to change it, just watch it. Notice where it is in your body and bring your attention there.
5 Mentally count your breaths. In-breath: one. Out-breath: two. And so on, up to ten. Then start again at one.
6 Thoughts, worries and memories are bound to arise and that’s fine. Just notice them. Allow every moment to be exactly as it is.
Turn to page 85 of February's The Simple Things for more on our Mindfulness special.