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2 Must-Try Mindfulness Practices

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

2 Must-Try Mindfulness Practices “Just as an untamed elephant can do damage, trampling crops and injuring people, so the untamed, capricious mind can cause harm to us and those around us.”

So writes Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., a physician and Zen teacher, in her book How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness: Simple Daily Mindfulness Practices for Living Life More Fully & Joyfully.

How often have you let negative thoughts run your life? Let a punitive perspective take over so you end up beating yourself up for the smallest of supposed offenses? Or just experienced the days like you’re listing through a boring book, going through the motions but skimming the significant stuff?

6 Comments to
2 Must-Try Mindfulness Practices

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  1. I practice tai chi, a system that calls for “rooting” or sinking one’s thought into the earth. In our particular approach, we imagine three “nails” that penetrate the earth beneath our big toe, the ball of the foot, and the heel (Details on our website) of the foot. As long as the thought is down, furthering the penetration, balance and relaxation are easy to maintain; as soon as a person wanders off into “I wonder how I look” or other distractions, it’s bye-bye balance.

    The three nails have also served injured, elderly, and otherwise impaired people. The more rooted they feel, the more agile they become. Grateful rooting is even better!

  2. Similar to the appreciation exercise, in AA I learned an exercise to help develop “an attitude of gratitude.” Each evening, as I prepare for sleep, I try to cast my mind back to something that happened during the day that gave me happiness, and then give thanks to my Higher Power for that and/or the sobriety that allowed me to experience that event. I first heard about this practice from a beautiful older lady named Alice, who also said, “If nothing happened during the day that you can feel thankful for, why you can be thankful the fucking day is over.”

  3. First of all, I agree with Chozen Bays that Mindfulness can help us to be in the present. And the present is all we have.

    Second I like to give a warning for appreciate something that’s absent. If you do that be sure you appreciate what’s there instead of what isn’t. For instance when illness is absent, you say something like “I appreciate that I am healthy”.

    One of my practices is focusing on my breathing before I start to do something difficult.

  4. I am being taught mindfulness as part of DBT; Being mindful ( focused) especially on an activity has helped me to remain calm in a chaotic environment- wherever I am!Being mindful of my words and actions as well as my “space” lets me be ME- who I want to be, rather than the emotion that I may be feeling at the time.

  5. I practise Aikido, a dynamic Japanese martial art using tai chi and jujitsu. It forces mind and body to work together with the chi and the universe. Sometimes it feels pleasent, sometimes it is not but it does result in beneficial changes to the spirit over time that you will notice away from the dojo. During the movements there is no room for cognition or over thinking or thought or mantras. To me, its like a dymamice moving prayer or meditaion. The aim is practise and practise. Like Yoda said of when using the Force, ” Do or dont do, there is nothing else

  6. I put myself more fully in the present moment by listening to the sound of my footsteps as I am walking.

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