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Mindfulness Tips for the Thankful Yogi

Thankfulness and mindfulness lean on each other. Even when things aren’t going well or the news is only reporting on the negative--it’s important to stay focused on all the good things in life.

As Thanksgiving approaches, practicing mindfulness is more important than ever. As you take time to cook, enjoy family, and hopefully take a few days from work--now is the time to consider how you can incorporate mindfulness into everyday action!

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness in yoga is a state of heightened awareness. Meditation and focused breathing are natural ways to train the brain in mindfulness. Through mindfulness, the mind is trained to flush out thoughts that are unwanted or negative and focus on the moment. While negativity still exists, the mind is more able to dismiss these thoughts.

According to John Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Worrying about the things that cannot be changed takes from enjoyment and thankfulness of the moment. Mindfulness embraces the moment, the here and now. For practitioners of yoga, mindfulness is essential. Through mindful breathing, the mind focuses only on the breath and allows the body to create the intricate postures of yoga. If the mind was allowed to wander during yoga, fear and awareness of the poses would create a block to the body’s true abilities.

Choose the present moment over worrying about the unknown. Enjoy family, friends, blessings and happiness through a mindful awareness. New yogis or even individuals who have never practiced yoga can embrace mindfulness in daily life.

Teach the Mind to Let Go

Teaching the mind to let go of worries takes training. Mindfulness meditation helps teach the mind to let go of intrusive thoughts.  To be truly mindful means to be aware of every point of the body. In mindful meditation, individuals are often told to think of someplace warm and inviting. The warmth is first felt in the tips of the toes, moves up through the legs, drifting into the abdomen and ribs, to the shoulders and finally the neck and head. The point of the whole body experience—or the “body scan” as taught by Kabat-Zinn--is to feel and be aware of each part of the body.

Numerous CD’s, DVD’s and online resources can teach mindfulness. Anyone who feels stuck and stranded in their worries or fears should explore the art of mindfulness and mindful meditation.

In the weeks that follow the craziness that has hit the country and the globe, individuals need to step away from the negativity and truly be thankful for today and for the gifts, the love and the beauty of life. The fear and uncertainty can be so overwhelming. However, each individual has the opportunity to turn the negative into a positive.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? When the table is set with turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and warm buttery rolls, take a moment and appreciate the bounty of the gifts. The overwhelming amount of food that most of us consume on Thanksgiving is more than some see in a week.  Be mindful of the moment. Train the mind to let go of the negative, embrace mindfulness, thankfulness, and love.

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