Dear Homegrown Yogis,
I walked out of the house this morning to take Freida to school. We were running 5 minutes behind schedule after a meltdown over a My Little Pony hairclip (don’t ask!). Walking out the door, I had her bookbag over one shoulder, my computer bag over the other, coffee in one hand and her hand in the other. As soon as we set foot on the first step of the porch, Freida slipped and fell. Second meltdown of the day.
I finally get Freida in her car seat and get my seatbelt on. SUCCESS! As I pull out of the driveway, my cell phone rings. “Ma’am. This is BAP Security. We got a call that your house alarm is going off.” I stop in my driveway and listen. The house alarm is blaring (and apparently has been for several minutes according to the man on the phone) and the front door is wide open (yes, because I forgot to close it).
What is this? This is an average morning – at least for me – and this is what it looks like when I am living without a sense of mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a widely-recognized expert in the field, defines mindfulness as an “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
I know I am living with mindfulness when I am completely absorbed in the moment. When I am using my sense of sight, smell and feel. When I am paying attention to every detail of a moment without trying to categorize it or make a judgement about it. It often happens as I tell Freida stories before bedtime, as I teach a yoga class, and as I watch a movie in a quiet theater. Just as often as I am practicing mindfulness, however, I am living on the other side – shoveling food down my mouth after not getting home until 9pm, rushing Freida through bedtime because I’m ready to lay down, and only thinking about my response when listening to my friend share a problem. It is a constant practice for me.
This month, we are offering two workshops that will challenge your sense of mindfulness both on and off your mat. On October 21st, Yoga for the Senses will show you how aromatherapy and your sense of smell can elevate your yoga practice to a whole new level. Then on October 23rd, join us for an all-levels yoga practice followed by a discussion with professional health coach, Autumn Mulvihill, on how eating mindfully is key to a healthy lifestyle.
Among the benefits of mindfulness, research has shown it to reduce stress, improve relationship satisfaction, and lessen emotional reactivity. Sounds pretty good, right? Make this month your month of mindful living!